National Grid sees AI as the brains behind the utility business

One of the biggest utilities with a customer base of 20 million people, the firm has made investments in 16 startups.

National Grid sees AI as brain behind utility

If a capital venture firm portfolio can be taken as a sign for the priorities of parent companies, then National Grid has hopes for making automation the future of the utility industry.

This emphasis on machine learning and automation came from one of the biggest held utilities with a customer base of around 20 million people. It’s also a great sign of where the company could go in the future.

Since the launching, the National Grid’s Venture firm, National Grid Partners, has made investments in 16 startups. Recently, the company backed AI Dash. It uses machine learning algorithms to know what they can about the satellite images.

Another one of recent investments, Aperio, makes the use of data from sensors monitoring the critical infrastructure to know about the data loss from cyberattacks or degradation.

Out of the total $175 million investment of the firm, National Grid has given around $135 million to companies. They use machine learning for their services.
Lisa Lambert, the chief innovation and technology officer at the National Grid and the President and founder of National Grid Partners, stated, “AI is going to be an important aspect for the energy industry to achieve the goals of decentralization.”

National Grid quietly started the year because of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has created a great panic.
Modernization is an important factor for an industry running on collective knowledge and spreadsheets.

COVID-19 pandemic

Until today, most of the automation work has been done around the automation of business processes. However, there are better capabilities that will push the automation up the value chain.

Lambert added, “ML is on the next level. Through the maintenance of your assets, you learn from the different interactions which you have with your customers, using that into the algorithm and the next time that you are going to do better. So, this will be the next generation. Once all the things are digital, you are going to learn from those engagements.”

Lambert observes another demand for machine learning tech in the need for utilities to decarbonize. This move away from fossil fuels is going to show a new way of managing a power grid.

Lambert stated, “Utilities constantly have to go through analytics and automation. Solar panels and Windmills aren’t traditional distribution networks. Most traditional engineers probably don’t think about innovating as they are building the technology which was quite relevant decades ago.”

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