Facing the crisis caused by COVID-19 will require the development of reconstruction plans of an unprecedented magnitude. With them, not only will recovery be facilitated, but they could become an opportunity to transform our economy, making it more modern and more solid, more internationalized and more competitive.
Extreme weather conditions and, currently, crises such as the pandemic we are experiencing, have demonstrated the advantages of digitization. Just one example: in the case of Iberdrola, the investments made in recent years have allowed it to keep operations and projects underway during the state of alarm, while guaranteeing the safety of its employees and collaborators. They also explain how the digitalization process of the electricity networks in Spain allowed to restore service to 300,000 customers in one hour, during the DANA that devastated Murcia and the Valencian Community just a year ago.
Digital transformation, however, is not possible without a cultural change that promotes new ways of working and new tools. This was evident in the last Digital Summit recently organized by the company, which had the participation of representatives of leading institutions and companies in digitization such as MIT, Google, Microsoft, IBM, LinkedIn, TikTok (ByteDance), Twitter and EVO.
Investment and work
Nor is it possible if there is no purpose and, in this sense, it is necessary to orient the innovation to the customer and the citizen to respond to their needs and be more efficient. In short, maximize the use of technology in those business areas that add value, either by improving processes and the productivity of its assets or by achieving more efficiency in activities.
To get out of the crisis, there is only one recipe: investment and work. And in this context it is also time to raise ambition to combine the green and digital revolutions as key pieces of economic recovery. Accelerate the energy transition, but also the electrification of transport, the residential segment and the industry to make change possible and leave a more sustainable world for new generations. And in this field, digitization plays an essential role.
Iberdrola is a reference in how technology, resources and capabilities can be oriented to lead the digital transformation of the energy sector and turn it into a competitive advantage. The company has managed its electricity generation assets digitally for years and has transformed its networks into smart ones with digital tools and artificial intelligence.
Likewise, it applies the latest technologies in all its activities:
- Blockchain for operations trading of energy, certificates of origin of ‘green’ energy, certification of documents and intra-group financing agreements, among other applications;
- Robots Y drones to support risky actions or in locations that are difficult to access for the blade inspection in wind farms, hydroelectric plants and high voltage power lines or for fraud detection;
- Virtual reality and augmented reality in training activities and actions on the ground, on power lines and infrastructures;
- Internet of things, applied to initiatives such as Iberdrola’s Smart Home, which provide customers with information for greater management and decision-making capacity regarding their energy consumption;
- Digital cufflinks, With which the virtual recreation of products and services is carried out that allow the company to anticipate and prematurely solve future incidents.
- Big data and analytics, with which it develops, for example, advanced wind prediction systems or detects electrical fraud;
- Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning with which it applies algorithms to different processes, such as the identification of anomalies in photovoltaic plants, the prediction of natural disasters or the personalization of personalized offers to different customer profiles; etc.
Innovation is Iberdrola’s main tool to guarantee its sustainability, efficiency and competitiveness. For this reason, the company has allocated 2,000 million euros in the last decade, after having increased resources in this area by 115% annually in the last ten years. These activities have made it the utility most innovative in Spain and the third in the world for investments in R & D & i, according to the European Commission.
Global Center for Power Grid Innovation
Iberdrola is at the forefront of the use of digital technologies and is preparing to face a new era in which disruptive tools will be key in all businesses. As an example of this bet, the company has just announced the launch of its Global Smartgrid Innovation Hub, a center located in Bilbao that will act as a driving platform for innovation, combining its technological capacity with that of suppliers, collaborators and startups of all the world.
East hub It will start in the spring of 2021 and has already identified more than 120 innovation projects for future implementation worth € 110 million. The lines of work, of an international scope, will allow the development and deployment of innovative solutions for Iberdrola’s electricity grid activity around the world.