ScottishPower Energy Networks (SPEN) has developed a new app that uses AI to identify network assets together with developer Minsait, an Indra company.
The app allows users to point their smart phone camera at an asset, which is identified, the phone’s geo-location system then is used to determine where it is and the data is then returned to the distribution network operator (DNO).
It will allow the company’s field staff to efficiently gather asset data information, as well as enabling crowdsourcing by third parties. This could include those installing low carbon technologies like electric vehicle chargers and heat pumps, SPEN suggested. They could use the app to remotely assess the impact of such devices on the network.
The iDentify app promotes the value of “data as a strategic asset” said Beatriz Batanero Rodriguez, key account manager at Minsait. “By means of applying AI we generate greater efficiency in business decisions and operations, in addition to promoting the circular economy and the discovery of new business models.
“iDentify app is based on automatic asset recognition. Employing this technology, the digitalisation and standardisation of the installation process of new devices is achieved. The use of AI is one of the most significant digital transformation drivers that will allow DNOs to make better decisions as new detailed and accurate data are gathered. This technology will enable early identification of faults or anomalies in power supply network and deliver value to their customers.”
The development of iDentify forms part of wider moves by the DNO to modernise its operations, which saw it invest £2.3 million into technology that creates 3D electricity maps.
Beyond the wider grid benefits, the iDentify app will help enhance customer experience SPEN added, allowing customers to identify a fault that they may be able to rectify themselves such as a tripped fuse. Modernising operations like this will be invaluable for the electricity network of the future added SPEN.
“As a key enabler to decarbonisation, we focus on modernising our network with digitalisation initiatives, and see a real opportunity for this latest innovation to enable more agile network capacity management and monitoring, with clear benefits to our customers and our network,” said Michael Alexander, SPEN Lean Six Sigma Black Belt and iDentify project lead.
“Following our team's innovative work on the initial iDentify solution, we are looking to expand on the learnings so far and are now starting to collaborate with other UK based DNOs and the ENA to further develop the app capabilities, ensuring its suitability for the entire electricity network.”