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Watson’s Transformation of Energy Management

Ten years ago, in 2006 IBM’s principal investigator David Ferrucci tested a question-answering system that was meant to respond to the clues of a quiz show but only performed at a correct rate of 15%.

Two years later the same machine competed with real life champions at a higher speed and swifter information processing rate. This was the beginning of what we now know as Watson – an offline computer system with over 200 million pages’ worth of information.

Watson is used on a regular basis in weather data analysis, AI generation, regulation compliance and geographical imagery, with new applications being added and trialled every year. Recently researchers and industry professionals have increasingly been seeking ways to benefit from Watson’s technology in the area of energy and utility management. Cognitive IoT, as it is known in the industry, is anticipated to explore options that have been impossible for now – e.g. decreasing risk in large volume operations or simplifying contextualising. Instead of the current model, Watson would combine searches with content analytics, leading to quicker answers and recommendations for engineers, managers and controllers.

Some problematic areas of Watson are the training it would require (equivalent to training young engineers, which is resource consuming) and how it was initially designed to work offline – making it unable to always act on the very latest data. As of today some online versions are in beta mode but for the foreseeable future there is no guarantee it can be recreated online as easily. It is also worth noting that as advanced as Watson is, it has incorporated many different technologies and this can sometimes lead to overcomplicating the results it would yield.

Dashboard is extremely keen to see what Watson can do to revolutionise utility management. As we constantly aim to improve our own analytics and take new ideas and technologies on board, we will be keeping a close eye on any developments in the area. We believe that correct software can increase Watson’s value and efficiency to improve the experience for organisations in the field. With the intense efforts of the past few years, it is likely to bring many new sides to data analysis and Dashboard looks forward to growing with the latest innovation.