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The theme of this year's International Utilities Conference is 'Creating Value in the Digital Energy Network'. Digitalization is not just another buzz word, it's already reality.

Utilities worldwide still spend trillions of dollars on their assets to either build new ones or keep the existing ones running. The big question now is: How can digitalization help to optimize the management of assets in your company?

Talking about digitalization and asset management, there are two streams of digitalization:

1. Digitalization of assets

2. Digitalization of asset management as a core business process

The digitalization of assets has already started years ago. The smart meter is just a prominent example, more and more assets become their own processor and additional software. More mechanical parts are replaced by software and all types of assets can now connect and exchange information via their own IP address. Nowadays, this is called the 'Internet of Things'. Gartner is already talking about a utility being a high-tech company that is managing such a tremendous value of high-tech assets.

Both trends open up an enormous potential for optimization and increased efficiency. Just think of connecting your digital asset via sensors to get all types of information out of it. This could be the basis for predictive maintenance and ultimately provide optimal asset management capabilities, such as better forecasting and investment decisions. Once this connection is established, the next step would be to build a connection between manufacturers and asset operators.  SAP is calling this the 'Asset Intelligence Network', where various market players connect seamlessly, exchange information and run business processes completely digitalized, saving time, money, and resources. The manufacturer gets access to asset information allowing him to provide additional services like updates, recalls, 3D asset models, updated and optimized maintenance plans (based on learnings from all companies across the network), etc. Through the network some services would be provided right to your digital asset. But besides the digitalization and optimization of those processes, such a network has even the power to completely transform the asset management business of the future. Manufacturers will not just be able to sell an asset, but selling up-time of an asset instead.

So thinking about digitalization of assets and asset management, please keep in mind that this is just a vehicle to drive plenty of new innovations ahead of us.

If you would like to hear more about this topic, please join my presentation Asset Management for the Digital Utility (from 10:45 - 11:30 a.m.) as part of the Digitalized Assets Track at the International Utilities Conference on April 13.

I am looking forward to meeting you in The Hague!


Stay tuned for more details, and remember to sign up for the conference!

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