IoT Can Be A Game Changer For Utilities Sector

by Swaminathan B    Feb 07, 2018


One of the most pressing concerns globally is the energy crisis heightened by population growth, escalating increase in energy demand and our continued dependence on fossil fuels. However, the energy crisis in India is far more severe. India’s energy consumption is predicted to double by 2030.Using IoT, 75F aims monitor, reducing the power consumption of many enterprises. In an exclusive interaction with CXOToday, Gaurav Burman, VP & Country President, India, 75F, shares how IoT is revolutionizing the electric utility sector.

CXOToday: Can you give some insights/research reports on the actual energy waste by Indian companies?

Burman: India’s energy consumption is set to grow 4.2% a year by 2035, faster than that of all major economies in the world, according to BP Energy Outlook. Of this escalating energy demand, buildings contribute to over 35% of the total energy consumption of which nearly 30% energy is wasted in commercial buildings due to inefficient use. Indian companies are already spending much more on utility costs as a percentage of OPEX when compared to their counterparts (mainly due to high energy cost on a PPP basis) and it is crucial to eliminate inefficiencies in energy usage and optimize energy consumption.

This is where 75F steps in. We built an IoT platform coupled with cloud based computing to create a predictive and proactive building intelligence system that can address HVAC, Lighting and Energy Management needs. Using real time data combined with an in-depth understanding of the building’s dynamic needs, our system automates a multitude of significant tasks, monitoring and analytics and makes available complete and real-time views into entire operating environments within a building. We do more than simply show our customers their energy use. We proactively manage it and give them the ability to do the same.  

CXO Today: Today new age companies/SI dealing in the energy or electric segment are coming up with solutions for cutting electricity cost. How much value do you bring when such solutions are already in place?

Burman: Traditional systems are reactive and not predictive. 75F’s Building Intelligence Solution, on the other hand, commissions continuously i.e. by continually monitoring a room’s needs, analyzing incoming data, and controlling what goes in and out, our system effectively manages a building’s energy loads. This prevents occupant discomfort by eliminating temperature and lighting imbalances, regardless of which system is installed. The process saves money and energy – in fact, up to 50% on HVAC and Lighting energy bills! Moreover, our easy, quick and non-disruptive installation makes 75F solution the ideal choice for new builds as well as retrofits. Our unique contribution is that we contribute to our customer’s triple bottom line in a smarter, more intuitive way & at a lower cost. Some of the other key advantages include increase employee productivity (social), reduce energy usage (environment) and, increase profit (economic).

CXO Today: You offer a dashboard that gives insights on the energy consumption and the ROI can be tasted after 3 years. With the arrival of IoT devices, the entire electricity will be computer driven. Could you elaborate how well is your technology complementing the new-age IoT devices?

Burman: At the present moment, India is upgrading to Smart meters and is expected to install 130 million smart meters by 2021. These smart meters, powered by IoT, will help consumers understand consumption patterns and help them save money by keeping a close track on their usage. Going forward, IoT is also predicted to revolutionize electric utilities sector, helping to monitor, coordinate and synchronize the transmission and distribution of electrical power across large geographical areas.

However, taking intelligence beyond the grid and distribution level, 75F’s empowers Building Facility Managers to monitor, manage and control the distribution and usage of energy within their building based on real-time data and an in-depth understanding about the building and its dynamic needs. Our system proactively predicts, monitors and manages various elements in a building including its temperature, lighting, air quality and its energy management needs. 75F’s system already has a demand side management included as a feature in our solution referred to as ADR – Automated Demand Response. The utility sends a signal to our platform when peak tariffs are applicable. The 75F system then changes set points to shed the load i.e. it adjusts AHUs, chilled water systems etc. accordingly to consume less energy.

Further, 75F’s Facilisight is a unique dashboard which provides the Facility manager the power to oversee and manage 75F systems across all sites directly from his mobile, tablet or desktop. Additionally, those with multiple locations benefit from the multi-site visibility and rolled-up reporting dashboard, with at-a-glance status views across their portfolio of locations and the ability to drill down into individual zone and the live system performance data for associated HVAC equipment. This also helps with remote monitoring and diagnosis across sites. They can also push schedule and other edits across all locations with a single click.With the arrival of smart meters and other new age IoT devices that will control the transmission and distribution of electrical power, 75F’s system can communicate with these devices giving our customers a complete grid to plug view of their energy usage.

CXOToday: For a restaurant or office, there might be an awareness on the energy consumption. According to you, how much is the energy-conservation awareness amongst the sectors like manufacturing or automobile where energy is the bread and butter of the organizations.

Burman: Energy efficiency awareness tends to be high in the IT/ITeS, Healthcare & Hospitality sectors. Also in medium to heavy manufacturing plants across sectors. There still remains a lot to be deployed/implemented on the ground in spite of the awareness in these sectors.With the rest, it is low, but growing rapidly.

CXOToday: Do you have solutions that can cater to alternative power generation sources like solar or do you deal only with traditional power generation?

Burman: Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency belong at the heart of a sustainable, low carbon economy. It’s encouraging to see that India is rapidly adopting alternative sources of power and Indian companies are clearly seeing a benefit in investing in solar power. 75F focuses on the other side of this coin i.e. energy efficiency. Irrespective of the source of power – we help our customers reduce energy usage and cut down on energy wastage, thereby helping them save on their energy bills and reduce their carbon emissions. Our self-optimizing, vertically integrated suite of wireless sensors, equipment controllers and cloud-based software predictively and proactively monitor, manage and control a building’s HVAC, Lighting and energy consumption.Our customers who use alternative energy or a mix obviously enjoy greater energy savings.

CXOToday: Who generally makes the decision in terms of power solutions? Is it the COO or CIO or CFO? Where do you pitch your solutions?

Burman: Job titles tend to vary, but it is typically the Facility Management team that is looking to increase energy efficiency, optimize occupant wellbeing & comfort, add automation and gain insight into how their building uses energy and are typically whom we pitch our solutions to. From a vertical industry perspective, we started by focusing on a few key verticals such as IT/ITeS, Healthcare and Hospitality in the four major metros. Just a year later, we are already seeing more avenues and lucrative business verticals such as SMEs, BFSI, Co-working spaces and retail.  It is a constantly evolving industry, as large or small the Indian business consumer is looking for efficiency & comfort, power in the palm of his hand and at a cost that is affordable. So, we’re really looking across verticals and building profiles in the commercial real estate market.

CXOToday: What are the phases you deploy your solutions?

Burman: I would typically classify our solution deployment into 3 stages viz. Site Survey, Pilot phase and Installation.Site Survey: The aim of the site survey is to understand the existing conditions and the challenges and accordingly tailor make the perfect solution for our customers. We design the site survey to create a complete picture of what is occurring in the air and equipment – both inside and outside the building.Pilot: The 75F pilot program allows us to measure, test and address the specific issues of a building or system. During the pilot, we collect hundreds of data points every minute from each zone of the area, along with a live weather feed. Deployment: Our pre-configured out-of-the-box vertically integrated suite of solution is easy, quick and non-disruptive to install causing minimal disruption to employees and regular business functioning. From the moment it is installed, the 75F system begins collecting data from the building and transmitting it to the cloud. We collect over 600 data points every minute, along with a weather feed, so that we understand the complete picture of what is going on inside and outside the building within 7 days.

CXOToday: How do you provide post-sale support?

Burman: We at 75F, go that extra mile and take the extra responsibility of consistently maintaining energy efficiency and comfort at all our customer’s sites. We are proud to be offering one of the best post-sales support in this industry across the world.

In addition to a dedicated toll-free number and email id where our customers can notify us in case of any concern, our customer service team is proactively monitoring each site to ensure that comfort levels and energy efficiency levels are always maintained. In case of any issues, our typical resolution time is less than 24 hours – ensuring that the system is up and running at optimal levels in no time. The 75F platform is one that allows for an extremely high degree of visibility into the internal workings & operating trends of the HVAC & lighting systems. This, coupled with sophisticated analytics can lead to predictive failure & improved efficiencies of the system, which result in lower downtime.