Article published on LinkedIn by Thierry Lahaye, ENGIE Cofely Deputy CEO, November 12, 2018

A specialist in energy and environmental efficiency, our Group is committed to a vast program of digital transformation. Today, we already collect more than twenty-five million pieces of data each day in the sixty thousand or so installations that we are responsible for managing. And data is going to become even more significant: a year from now, with a total of one hundred thousand connected objects installed, we will be generating around fifty million pieces of data per day. This growth is logical, because technology is constantly becoming easier to install and use, while at the same time the cost of equipment is tending to drop.

A paradigm change

The Internet of Things (IoT) provides us with a vast array of pieces of information – temperatures, air quality, humidity, the behavior of the building and of its users, etc. – that enables us to improve our operational performance. We exploit all the data in real time so that we can manage installations according to the contractual commitments we have made to our customers, but also anticipate possible variations. Thanks to Big Data, we can forecast much more accurately how a building or the process will react, and what its energy needs will be, taking account of the weather, the rate of occupancy at a given moment, etc. We can then do our best to optimize the occupants’ consumption and comfort. This means that we have moved from a curative to a more predictive approach, and are now capable of providing individualized management while still operating on an industrial basis. We are thus adopting a B2B2C quality approach, for the benefit of the user. Gone are the days when, for instance, the heating would start up on a given date without necessarily taking account of weather conditions, where boilers just churned out kilowatt-hours: it is now an era of minimizing the ideal consumption, as decided on by the end-user.

Development in processes

Logically, exploiting data efficiently entails optimizing processes, tools, and organization. In the first half of last year at ENGIE Cofely, we launched Predity, our digitized ecosystem – some would call it our “platform” – through which we are able to improve our operational performance. We currently have around forty centers that are equipped with Predity rooms where our experts manage installations in real time. These rooms are very much like control towers. They are manned by analysts and specialists in scheduling, and are in direct contact both with our customers and our eight thousand technicians, both working at fixed posts and operating in the field. According to needs, we can organize call-outs by our specialists more accurately: technicians no longer carry out pre-determined routine inspection rounds of installations, for instance, but travel where and when they are really needed, which gives real added value to their work. Of course, in the light of such fundamental change, we are providing full support for our teams. With the aim of achieving convergence between our ecosystems and our human resources, we have set up the “Predity Academy”, where all our operational personnel and their managers can be trained, learning fast and being better able to master all the changes relating to Big Data.

Optimized quality of service

More efficient exploitation of data and these technological and human changes share the same objective of guaranteeing a service of quality to our customers – to whom we constantly report back – and, ultimately, to the users. Data is a tool that is now irreplaceable and particularly effective. But through the familiarity of its professional trades, ENGIE Cofely remains a “last yard” company whose technicians, the people who are actually in contact with users, are the best ambassadors for developing customer satisfaction. The whole problem is there: technology exists to serve people, and not the other way round. This is also why we favor individualization, with optimized management of installations through innovative industrial means and methods, always to make things better for the user. This far-reaching change will continue over the coming months and years. Taking advantage of the vast amount of secure data collected by sensors, our experts are already hard at work on the solutions of tomorrow, principally focusing on artificial intelligence and blockchains, with the aim of going still further in improving operational performance and the comfort of occupants.