Enercloud: The Challenge of Transformation Applied to Public Administrations

Nowadays one of the most important challenges for both businesses and Public Administrations is to transform and optimize complex processes, introducing discontinuity by means of innovation. In the “transform to innovate” paradigm, the definition of new models to approach problems, leveraging the ICT technologies as an enabler, plays a key role. At present, to introduce innovation within enterprise processes and products is not easy even though market competition pushes the private sector. Therefore, the real challenge is to start this activity within the Public Administrations.

As an example, a smart city has to analyse its own weaknesses in order to understand potential areas of improvement. This post will focus on an expensive activity such as public lighting, that can be deeply innovated through new models and approaches. In particular, the average European consumption of electricity for public lighting is estimated in 51 kWh per inhabitant that represents a share between 15% and 50% of the electrical costs of a city (source: Lumière project – ENEA).

In this domain, ISMB, with the support of some Italian municipalities, designed and validated a solution called Enercloud, to monitor and optimize the energy consumptions of Public Administrations, with a specific focus on public lighting and a cloud computing platform for data aggregation and analysis based. The Enercloud system starts from the need to have an increased awareness of energy processes and the related costs (energy invoices), supporting policy-makers through simplified analyses and reports based on real data elaboration, along the guidelines of the European Covenant of Majors. This results in the possibility to control the processes in a simplified way, supporting the identification of potentially anomalous situations and enabling considerable savings.

The second valuable “transformation” step was the introduction of low cost embedded devices (following the IoT paradigm) connected to the Enercloud platform for the management of public lighting lines through the direct control of the switching-on and -off intervals and real time measurements. Tests show additional energy savings of around 10-15%.

The match between technical and financial advantages of this transformation process leads to the possibility to exploit new models that foresee the re-investment of the savings to introduce new low-energy systems that enable additional cost reductions. As an example, it was demonstrated that a municipality of around 60,000 inhabitants could convert 85% of its lighting plants to LED technology ones (reducing the carbon emissions by 4,300 tons) only using the money saved with Enercloud, to finance the operation in a time span of 12 years with a payback period of 1 year.

Moreover, it is worth highlighting that the transformation of processes is also mentioned by the EU Digital Agenda as an important enabling factor.

In summary, the important elements for a successful transformational project are a deep analysis of existing processes, the introduction of ICT technologies supporting a redrawing of those processes and the ability, together with the willingness of decision-makers and users, to transform and change the routine, even through cultural changes.

dominiciFabrizio Dominici (@fabrydominici) is Head of Mobile Solutions at Istituto Superiore Mario Boella, a research & innovation center operating in the ICT domain.

 

checchinatoFrediano Checchinato (@FredChecchinato) is Head of Partners & Front End at Istituto Superiore Mario Boella, a research & innovation center operating in the ICT domain.