In a groundbreaking development, artificial intelligence (AI) is transforming how Danish power grid companies operate, drastically reducing inefficiencies and saving significant time and resources. Denmark’s N1, a leading electricity grid company, has successfully harnessed AI to revolutionize its cable cabinet inspections, leading to remarkable outcomes and cost savings.
Over the past year, N1 has leveraged AI technology to collect data on more than 180,000 cable cabinets across its service area, primarily covering large parts of Jutland. This initiative has significantly minimized the need for unnecessary physical inspections, resulting in thousands of hours saved by the company’s technicians.
According to Daniel Skovsbo Erichsen, Director of Customers, Market & Development at N1, the traditional approach to inspecting approximately 280,000 cable cabinets was both tedious and time-consuming. “We can do about 10,000 inspections per year. This means that it will take about 30 years to get all the way around,” Erichsen explained to Danish media. This situation prompted the company to explore innovative solutions to expedite inspection.
One unlikely source of inspiration for N1’s transformation came from the world of gaming. Taking a page out of the Pokémon GO playbook, N1 developed the N1GO! app, which employs image recognition and AI to enable users to virtually “catch” cable cabinets in a style reminiscent of the popular mobile game.
The N1GO! app has proven to be a game-changer in the energy sector, allowing the company to efficiently collect data on thousands of cable cabinets. The app’s algorithm employs image recognition to identify the type of cable cabinet within a street scene. Users can then rate the cabinet’s condition and wear on a scale of 1 to 4, providing valuable information for N1’s operational and safety purposes.
“It’s actually quite straightforward once you get started. We get better information about the exact location, and the ratings help indicate the extent to which a technician is needed,” Erichsen emphasized.
The results of this innovative approach have been nothing short of remarkable. In just one year, N1 has obtained information on the location, manufacturer, and condition of 180,000 cable cabinets. Astonishingly, only about one percent of these cabinets require service, a revelation that has led to substantial cost savings and a more efficient operation.
“We have freed up a lot of time by not driving out to inspect cable cabinets that are actually fine. At the same time, our technicians know what they’re getting into, and they have the right equipment from the start. These are some of the elements we hadn’t counted on in the case study but which have resulted in huge savings,” Erichsen stated.
The CEO of N1 estimates that the overall savings amount to a double-digit million figure over several years. This cost-effective initiative also liberates resources that can be redirected to bolster the power grid in other critical areas.
In the context of an ever-increasing demand for electricity and the need to accommodate electric cars and heat pumps, the ability to manage grid capacity in real-time has become paramount for grid companies like N1. Erichsen highlighted the importance of technology and data in this evolving landscape: “It’s about being proactive in terms of capacity management, flexibility, and maintenance. Here, technology and data play an increasingly important role for us.”
N1’s commitment to digitalization in both its business development and operations reflects the realization that data is now a crucial asset in successful electrification efforts. The company’s embrace of AI technology and innovative solutions underscores its dedication to staying at the forefront of the industry.
N1’s groundbreaking approach to cable cabinet inspections will be showcased at the upcoming Technomania event in October. As a partner for the first time at Denmark’s largest technology event, N1 will share its insights into the future of energy, electrification, and the pivotal role of AI in revolutionizing the power grid management landscape.
“We are always looking to talk to people and companies that can inspire us to run our business smarter and thus help make the green transition faster and more cost-effective. At the same time, we look forward to focusing on electrification in a way that can hopefully inspire others,” Erichsen affirmed.
In the evolving world of energy management, N1’s innovative application of AI and the N1GO! app provides a compelling case study of how technology can drive efficiency and cost savings while paving the way for a greener future. With their groundbreaking approach, N1 has shown that even in the world of electricity grids, inspiration can come from the most unexpected sources.
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