NR2305

NEWS RELEASE                                                                                        DECEMBER 2016

Connecting Things, People, Intelligence, Niche Experts and Wise Crowds for Power Industry Decisions

GE, Emerson, Siemens and many other companies are creating software to connect things.  There is a large potential for this in power generation.  This potential was reflected in a number of papers and displays at the recent PowerGen Asia exhibition.

“We believe the success of our power generation customers will be more and more supported by the intelligent use of data generated by ever increasing connectivity of devices. The integration of those data with people expertise and knowledge will create additional services in a cycle delivering unprecedented knowledge of the behavior and potential of their assets,” said Marco Sanguineti, Head of Technology for ABB’s Power Generation business unit.

McIlvaine recently conducted nine hours of webinars focused on a problem for one utility.  Presentations by Siemens, GE and Emerson addressed the optimization route to a lowest total cost of ownership (TCO) solution but the participants (wise crowd) concluded that incorporating innovative new technologies and components would be equally important in a system which would provide the lowest TCO.

Companies such as ABB are integrating the data from many thousands of sensors which are monitoring thousands of pumps, valves, mixers, fans, compressors, burners, conveyors, filters, etc.  In a large utility with multiple plants, there are hundreds of individuals with specialized knowledge that may be valuable in a specific lowest TCO determination. As a result, there are likely to be many thousands of people who can contribute to the decision-making process. How do you take advantage of all this niche expertise?

Jeff Immelt of GE observed that the power industry needs to adopt the “hurry up” attitude of Silicon Valley in developing new technology.  McIlvaine believes that this “hurry up” mode can best be achieved by decision systems which interconnect machines with people, intelligent databases and systems, niche experts and wise crowds.  Systems have been created which provide the four knowledge needs:  Alerts, Answers, Analysis and Advancement. The newest addition has been to supplement periodic webinars with very focused LinkedIn discussion groups.  These groups facilitate “wise crowd” decisions by addressing all the criteria needed for a “wise crowd” to function properly.

Wise Crowd Criteria and LinkedIn Role

Criteria Description LinkedIn role  
Diversity of Opinion Each person should have private information. Small LinkedIn discussion groups lend themselves to extracting the niche expertise and unique ideas.  
Independence People's opinions aren't determined by the opinions of those around them. The small LinkedIn discussion groups are not subject to the peer pressure of the large webinars.  McIlvaine editors then integrate the conclusions reached in the discussion groups.  
Decentralization People can specialize and draw on local knowledge. The small LinkedIn discussion group is the ideal way to extract the local knowledge and benefit from niche expert participation.  
Aggregation Some mechanism exists for turning private judgments into a collective decision. The LinkedIn discussion groups are a bridge between analyses and webinars which result in the collective decisions.  

The LinkedIn discussion groups are an important part of the entire interconnection system between:

  • Separate individuals and divisions within a supplier conglomerate
  • Separate individuals and divisions within a utility conglomerate
  • Separate individuals and divisions within a consulting company
  • The final interconnection between all the many individuals in each of the above

Supplier knowledge can be transmitted through individuals who are encouraged by management to focus on becoming more expert.  These individuals will be “rainmakers.”  If they demonstrate that their company has the knowledge and the products to provide the lowest TCO, they can be very effective in boosting sales.

The same is true of consulting companies. However, the challenge will be to offer just enough expertise to achieve the rainmaking without reducing the potential actual consulting revenues.

The LinkedIn discussion groups are incorporated in three Decision Guides:

4S01 Berkshire Hathaway Energy Supplier and Utility Connect

44I   Coal fired Power Plant Decisions (formerly PPAQD)

59D Gas Turbine and Reciprocating Engine Decisions