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Driving digitalisation in GCC Utilities

by Baset Asaba on Jun 22, 2017

Three months ago, Dubai Water and Electricity Authority (DEWA) entered into an agreement with Siemens to collaborate on an advanced data-driven project.

The project is designed to help DEWA achieve its vision of becoming a sustainable, innovative world-class utility, and to ensure the highest levels of performance, efficiency and reliability of its power generation assets.

The agreement set forth a joint work plan to identify ways to improve thermal efficiency, provide cost-effective solutions for performance optimisation, manage costs and reduce fuel consumption and emissions.

In other words, DEWA wants to entrench digitalisation across its operations with the help of highly regarded companies in this arena. Similar agreements are being signed by utility companies across the GCC region, as asset optimisation becomes an important aspect in scaling down operational costs.

The rapid advance of digital technologies presents a transformational opportunity for the utilities sector. Innovations already used in many other industries, such as decentralised production, real-time analytics pulled from big data, sensor networks, and mobile computing, will change the contours and competitive balance of utilities over the next few years.

The result? Power generation and distribution, electrical grids, connected homes and businesses, customer relations, operations, and workforce processes will all be in flux as utilities navigate a course through a changing landscape.

Research conducted by Strategy& finds that most utility company senior executives believe digital technologies such as data mining and mobile customer engagement are strategically critical. The problem, however, among utilities that call themselves digital leaders, more than half concede that their investments in these new technologies are at best medium and often low.

“We found a sector that has considerable digital ambition but suffers a mismatch between those aspirations and its digital vision, investment, culture, and capabilities — a will to embrace the future, but no way forward,” said the report by Strategy&.


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