Computing Energy Sector
We’ve discussed here in the past how cleantech (a blanket term that includes technologies that affect recycling, renewable energy, transportation, and others) is moving energy efficiency into the cloud, and how there are many very well-known technology brands dipping their toes into this arena, most notably well-known brands Apple and Facebook building cleaner data center solutions focusing on renewable and hydroelectricity.
The next step for cleantech is developing technology that will help manage these emerging solutions in a more integrated and seamless way, using the software-as-a-service (SAAS) model. There is quite an opportunity presented to the software industry as more decentralized energy markets emerge: smart technology that is invading both our home and commercial buildings, the aforementioned data center footprint explosion, smart grid storage, solar, and many others.
As these sectors grow and new clean solutions take over traditional or outdated technologies, there will be an increasing need for software solutions to make them run even more efficiently than their predecessors. Here are five companies whose cloud computing solutions are having an impact.
Safety and Compliance
One obvious area that’s improving because of the cloud is in ensuring safety and compliance. Enviance's cloud-based platform provides a number of environmental, health, safety, and sustainability solutions to help their clients and partners “manage what matters“. These solutions help energy companies, like those that provide electric and natural gas services, in effectively managing compliance obligations and regulatory responsibilities.
The platform's environmental solutions collect data in areas such as compliance, permit management, greenhouse gases, and emission inventory. RSIGuard is the company’s award-winning desktop office ergonomics software. JHA (Job Hazard Analysis) determines controls to eliminate risk and provide relevant training.
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Recently recognized as a 2015 Bloomberg New Energy Pioneer, Locus Energy provides comprehensive data acquisition hardware and software solutions to help pave the way for solar adoption while also reducing the cost and complexity of solar monitoring.
With over 104,000+ solar systems installed and 53+ Billion data points collected, Locus is helping states like California hit new records in today's “solar generation“. Their Solar NOC (Network Operation Center) application improves fleet management and efficiency across many dimensions including region, equipment size and type, installation needs, and more. In addition, their Solar-OS helps these installers and fleet managers understand performance data and analytics through a user-friendly web interface.
Electric Charging Stations
ChargePoint is known for operating the world's largest EV charging network, with a mission to get more people driving electric vehicles and making sure they have a place to charge them wherever they go. The company provides solutions to both businesses who want to get more involved in offering EV station options to employees or customers, and those who are looking to charge their EV at home.
What ChargePoint is also doing is building the infrastructure in the cloud to make sure their current and future systems of EV charging are easy to manage for these consumers and partners. With over 21,000 charging stations across the US, ChargePoint is able to provide real-time data usage and use this data to make better decisions that influence the next location to penetrate, as well as providing these cloud services to other charger manufacturers.
Digital Grid Solutions
Well-known energy powerhouse GE recently aligned with Alstom Grid to form the GE Grid, a joint venture with over 200 years of combined experience in providing advanced energy solutions. Alstom Grid's Agile Digital Substation solution brings together over 400 interactive tools help customers explore grid challenges and solutions in areas like substation digitization, distribution automation, and system integrity protection.
In addition, Alstom Grid's cloud support port provides access to online tools and services for maintenance customers, user groups to continue building their technical users community, and offering over 200 training courses through the Alstom Grid Technical institute. It's through these technology acquisitions that the GE brand continues to grow as the world's leading digital industrial company.
Technology is beginning to shape the future for how energy companies communicate with one another. One of the more well-known advantages for cloud based services in business is the fact that we can share any important data at anytime from anywhere. Energy consulting firm Opportune LLP recently noted that, “Oil and gas companies and energy consulting firms are increasingly relying on partners, service organizations, and individuals outside the firewall to share the increasing costs, risks, and access to the limited industry expertise. Cloud-based systems naturally allow for much broader collaboration as stakeholders are no longer bound to internal fixed assets and sites.”
The moral of the story is that cloud based platforms are becoming widely integrated in a large spectrum of businesses for different reasons. When speaking about the energy sector, though, there is a lot of room for advancement. These five areas are proof that cloud computing and energy companies are going to produce some pretty fascinating solutions in regards to energy consulting and efficiency.
By Eric Hebert
Eric is the senior marketing strategist for evolvor.com, where he helps educate business owners about digital marketing. Some of his work has appeared on Entrepreneur, Search Engine Journal, and ClickZ.