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Could big data help your business make large reductions in energy consumption?

08 Dec 2015Planet
  • Vodafone’s energy consumption is significant and growing as data use by our customers increases

  • In tests, new Energy Data Management application has reduced store energy costs by more than a quarter

  • Vodafone Germany will use EDM 2.0 as basis of ISO 50001 certification process

COP 21 is currently considering how countries can reduce greenhouse gas emissions to have a positive impact on the fight against climate change. At a business level, we consider the same issues as part of our pledge to minimise the amount of energy we consume, and limit carbon emissions.  To do that we are rolling out a new software application powered by Machine-to-Machine (M2M) technology.

In the last year, Vodafone consumed roughly the same amount of energy as it takes to power 1.5 million European homes. It is therefore essential that we monitor, control and optimise energy consumption in all our operating companies.

Vodafone’s Energy Data Management application (EDM 2.0) is software that uses our global M2M technology and a platform provided by a company called Device Insight.

The system provides us with the capability to collect and analyse data from smart meters and meter operator data streams across any countries in which we operate. It is currently being rolled-out in 10 of the markets in which Vodafone operates.

A major milestone was achieved in November 2015 when Vodafone Germany completed integration and went live with 27,000 site connections to the platform. This key development is the cornerstone of their ISO 50001 certification process (the standard for designing, implementing and maintaining an energy management system).

We can use the ‘big data’ created by EDM 2.0 to benchmark the energy performance of the different buildings we operate, and also our network sites.

For example, we tested EDM 2.0 by analysing the energy needs of a retail store in Ireland over a three month period. A simple combination of sensors and smart meters told us what systems were using most energy and when. We then worked with our colleagues in the store on some simple ways to reduce their energy output without adversely affecting our customers – lighting checks, temperature set up reduction, shutting down heating, ventilating and air conditioning in certain time slots and outside of work hours. This simple project enabled the store to reduce its energy output by 27%.

With connected sensors we can also benchmark the energy performance of similar buildings or network installations. We used EDM 2.0 to measure the energy efficiency of different site topologies and new software features in Hungary. As a result of the analysis we were able to reduce kilowatt hours used by an average of 18% per site.

Additionally, EDM 2.0 is also helping Vodafone to reduce utility bills. In Portugal we identified a 25% difference between the actual energy usage by hundreds of pieces of core network equipment and the estimate provided by the infrastructure landlord.

EDM 2.0 is also a key tool in enabling effective investment decisions for future energy efficiency initiatives. Soon this software will enable us for the first time to remotely test the energy usage of different technologies before rolling them out within markets.

The big data we can generate and analyse using EDM 2.0 is central to helping a global company like Vodafone to manage and reduce energy usage by better understanding how our buildings and network equipment should perform under different usage conditions.

Our trials of EDM 2.0 have been extremely successful and the next step is to increase coverage and connectivity within markets already connected,  extend EDM 2.0 into remaining Vodafone markets and  develop further smart grid functionalities.

Eric Estrade is the Principal Manager responsible for global procurement of energy services for Vodafone Group. He has worked for Vodafone for 11 years, focusing on energy and green technology for the past five years.

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