Big Data is no Substitute for Good Data

It seems like everyone has now included the buzzwords of artificial intelligence, machine learning, business analytics, and energy insights … but they still have no idea what good data really looks like.

They run around bragging about what they think they can do with smart grid data using fancy talk about Hadoop and other big data engines.  But, as my professors always told me about energy modeling: garbage in – garbage out.

Noise doesn’t get any better when you have more of it and smart grid data is about as noisy as you can get.  The key to energy analytics and artificial intelligence is noise reduction … not just signal processing that shows you can quantify the noise.

Plus, let’s stop talking about disaggregation as if that were the end game.  What matters is not just where the energy is going but what a customer can realistically do about it and how they can make cost effective changes in their homes.

If you really want answers to these questions, ask us about our noise cancelling techniques… we can show you real results for all customers that goes way past just telling them where you think their energy dollars are going.

Customer engagement is more about a pretty face.

Seeing is Not Believing … or is it?

I thought this was going to be another boring morning with LinkedIn reminders of this or that, but this one got me going.  LinkedIn posted a rant from Shark Tank’s Kevin O’Leary about a video promoting a technology for funding.

View the video here. 

The comments quickly debunk what appears to be a compelling video of a university professor making himself invisible.  If you were not aware of how green screen technology works in broadcasting, you might be fooled.  Or, you might think this was another edited video.

So, the cynics quickly dismiss this as a stunt.  But a critical thinker might ponder: Clever!  Now this is a great way to defeat all those surveillance cameras we think help us defeat crimes.

I remember my father telling me that criminals were often amazingly intelligent individuals who use their intellect for no good causes.  Well, I am afraid this video is going to inspire exactly this type of outcome.

Death Spiral? Hope is on the Horizon!

It is easy to get depressed when your business metrics look worse and worse.

Wall Street wants you to show growth and when you measure that as increases in traditional sales metrics, you can lose hope.

This was the case as Thomas Edison’s electric lamp replaced natural gas in home

and street lighting.  The gas industry decided that investing in Edison’s was better than simply sitting on the sidelines moping about bad numbers.  They got a wonderful outcome of course when Edison had to generate the electricity for those lamps as a fuel for that instead of the lamps themselves.

We are on a stunningly parallel course with the electricity industry today.  You would have to be living under a rock not to see how Tesla has changed the Electric Vehicle landscape despite his critics.  And, when you read articles like the one shown here, the future is clear … read: Light Bulbs and Electric Cars: A Time for Change. 

The key question for electric utilities today is the role they are going to play.  Once again, remember the warning of Jim Rogers, past CEO of Duke Power.  “If you aren’t at the table, you are on the menu!”

Got Power?

The brutal winter storms in the Northeast are driving interest in solar, batteries, and emergency generators.  Storm restorations are costing the regional electric utilities millions of dollars, and instead of customers thanking them for their tireless and dangerous work, they are seeking alternatives.

Today’s low cost money and low interest rates has created a formidable market push for systems that do not yield much in the way of financial returns, but do provide peace of mind and power when no one else has it.

Times are changing, but once again, where are the power or the natural gas companies?  Can’t they see the obvious opportunity here?  Offer solutions.  As I mentioned in an earlier blog, “If you are not  at the table, you will be on the menu.”

Read Maine Public’s article “As Storms Batter the Electric Grid More Mainers are Considering Cutting the Cable” 

Olympic Fallout

Courtesy Wall Street Journal

If we were asked how the term “dog meat” is used in this country, most people would say something like: “do the wrong thing and you are dog meat” implying you are effectively a dead person … something like the phrase “game over!”

Since dogs are not an acceptable food source in the US, most people do not think you are referring to the animal as a source of food here.  Well, in South Korea, the opposite is true.  Watch the video here. 

We have always assumed that cultural change is slow … typically requiring generations to come and go.  Well, we may see quite the opposite in South Korea as a result of their hosting the Olympics.  Public outrage around the world is intense.

So, who would have thought that graciously hosting a world-wide event could bring such rapid and vapid condemnation?  Once again, social media takes the news cycle and amplifies voices.

Just think of what might have happened if these forces were at work back in the days when the prisoners in Maine were fed lobsters and thought they were being poisoned.  At the time, they did not think you could eat lobster.  In this country, lobster was then considered useful only as fertilizer or fish bait, and only in the last 100 years has it become an expensive and highly sought-after delicacy.