DIGITAL SUMMIT 2019

Digital Summit 2019: energy for the new digital age

#business #informatics #R&D

On October 29 and 30 Iberdrola group held its Digital Summit for the fifth time. The event, which once more highlighted the company's commitment to digitalisation, brought 320 employees from 8 countries together at the Iberdrola Campus in San Agustín del Guadalix (Madrid, Spain) and was attended by a number of leading companies who specialise in digitalisation, such as Spotify, Amazon, L'Oréal and IBM.

OBJECTIVES OF THE DIGITAL SUMMIT 2019

Iberdrola uses the Digital Summit as a laboratory, testing ground and launch pad for its digital transformation projects. To be precise, at this year's summit Iberdrola group intended to present five major ideas:

 New digital age

The company has set itself the challenge of energising the new age, which will, without doubt, be digital.

 The opportunity to create value

Digitalisation, which has already shown itself to be of benefit to the corporate world, will enable Iberdrola to increase the efficiency of its processes, make progress with respect to energy transition and improve relations not only with its customers, but also with its employees.

 Global character

Digitalisation encompasses all of the group's business units and the different countries in which they operate.

 Successful cases

New technologies are having a positive impact on all of Iberdrola's business areas:

  • Generation: 100% of our generation assets are now automatically and digitally managed, and this benefits both operation and preventive maintenance and generally improves system safety.
  • Grids and networks: thanks to the design and roll-out of smart grids, we can smart grids, we can operate networks virtually, instantaneously and automatically, which gives us a heads-up on possible incidents and allows us to resolve them with ever greater speed and efficiency. For example, the digitalisation of Spain's distribution network brought about by the STAR Project —a 2-billion euro investment—, has meant that service quality has tripled since 2001.
  • Retail: by analysing big data, we are constantly developing new products and services in an attempt to anticipate the needs of our increasingly demanding and proactive customers. One example of this are our Planes a Tu Medida.

 Technological disruption

The company is developing pioneering digitalisation proposals based extensively on the use of disruptive technologies such as the internet of things, robotics, artificial intelligence, big data and Machine Learning.

PIONEERS IN DIGITALISATION

Digitalisation is one of Iberdrola's strategic cornerstones, with the group planning to invest 4.8 billion euros in digitalisation between 2018 and 2022, the aim being to improve the operating capacity and maintenance of its assets — through data analytics and artificial intelligence — and to increase the availability of its generating plants.

The company also will install 20 million smart meters in Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States by 2022 and, in addition, will automate 100% of its high voltage network in the United States and increase the automation of its low voltage lines by 50%.

Ignacio Galán, Iberdrola group chairman

Digitalisation is going to play a fundamental role in the energy transformation through the electrification of the economy

Within the framework of the Digital Summit, the chairman of the group, Ignacio Galán, assured us that "being more digital is an obligation for Iberdrola", because not only is it a great opportunity to create value, but it is also indispensable for making the electrification of the economy a reality: "It will help us to strengthen our leadership and commitment in the fight against climate change", he explained.

Galán also stressed that "the benefits that digitalisation brings will not be achievable without a truly reliable energy structure that can supply the electricity needed". On this subject he affirmed that all Iberdrola's generating facilities are already managed through automated systems and the networks are operated remotely in real time, while the use of big data is allowing customers to be offered ground-breaking services.

LEADERS IN INNOVATION

Within its digitalisation plan, the group has set itself a target of rolling out 75 innovative projects per year, with the aim of continuing to lead in this process. Today our company is Spain's most innovative producer of energy and number three in Europe with respect to resources channelled into R&D. In 2018, Iberdrola invested 267 million euros in this field (8.5% more than in 2017), with this being fundamentally channelled into projects related to digitalisation, renewable energies, smart grids and the development of tailor-made solutions for customers.

The group's research centre, Iberdrola Innovation Middle East, is a worldwide benchmark that develops solutions that help in the advance towards the digitalisation of the electricity system. Furthermore, it has an international start-ups program, Perseo, which is funded to the tune of 70 million euros and designed to encourage innovation and entrepreneurship within the sector.

In order to continue to capture the best ideas on the market, Iberdrola has launched two Startup Challenges this year. In the first, Resilience to natural disasters, 131 startups from 24 countries submitted 148 proposals. The second, Cleaning photovoltaic panels, has received 74 proposals from 70 startups from 25 countries.