New research shows UK utilities industry ready to adopt AI across the board

Posted: Friday 3rd August 2018

While the utilities industry has struggled to innovate for some time, new research has revealed it is now ready to adopt Artificial Intelligence (AI) to bring much needed efficiencies to the sector.

The research found that 37 per cent of utilities companies in the UK have plans to integrate AI in the next five years, while a quarter (25%) have already integrated the technology into their systems. The two main driving factors for AI adoption were cited as monetary savings and customer retention - demonstrating a clear wake-up call for industry leaders.

The poll - commissioned by award-winning predictive field service management company Oneserve - surveyed UK senior decision makers in the utilities industry on their existing operational practices and attitudes towards adopting Artificial Intelligence in the sector.

According to the research, utilities companies lose on average £78,585 each, per year, due to machine and system downtime. The main reason given for such huge losses was the inability to spot internal technical faults (41%), followed by using old machinery and legacy systems (27%), and a lack of training, leading to miss-use by staff (20%).

Over half (51%) of those surveyed said machine and system downtime had also led to a serious negative impact on customer loyalty and their company's reputation.

Demonstrating the growing awareness that AI will solve these issues, 64 per cent of those surveyed believe AI will be incredibly valuable to business. Four in 10 believe AI will support the current utilities workforce, making it more efficient, cost-effective and customer-focused. Over half (53%) of those who have already integrated AI into their business said their workforce had become significantly more productive since harnessing the technology.

Chris Proctor, CEO of Oneserve commented, "While it's been a long time coming, it's encouraging to see that so many in utilities are finally acknowledging the vast benefits AI can bring to the sector. We are no longer in a brave new world. Harnessing AI and predictive maintenance systems is not a risky investment thanks to the numerous use cases that exist.

"What utilities companies must do is continue in this direction, ensuring that they innovate not only to stay competitive and profit heavy but also to improve customer experience. It's essential that they turn key data points into actionable insight and the most efficient way to do this right now is through harnessing AI."

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