Smart Energi is an ongoing project, where team Solita (previous Ferrologic) has created a digital platform for energy companies to support their digitalisation journey. The solution has brought energy efficiency and cost savings for the members in the Smart Energi community and taught solitans a great deal about the energy industry.
Meet Smart Energi team members Alexei Olatov (System Architect) and Patrik Rafstedt (Senior Project Manager), who share their experiences about the project.
A project with a far-reaching positive impact
Smart Energi is a unique project in many ways. It’s a joint effort together with several energy companies and universities, so there are many stakeholders involved. Building a shared digital platform brings benefits like cost savings since the development expenses are divided between several companies. In addition, knowledge sharing between the companies has been really valuable.
Our job in the project is to develop a digital platform that allows us to build different applications on top of it. The first application K2 is used to identify deviations in their district heating networks through data analysis. The focus of this project is on district heating, but ideally, we will be able to use the tool in the future with other energy distribution methods as well. We have also demonstrated that it’s possible to build an IoT ecosystem with many partners involved and realise it on the technical level.
So far, the outcomes of our work have been very encouraging. The customer companies have been able to detect a lot of small deviations that weren’t visible before, and as a result, they have minimised costs and energy waste. At this point, the analysis is done manually and focuses on the visualizations of energy consumption and water flow patterns. We aim to build smart algorithms into the platform and use machine learning to identify the deviating patterns automatically.
It’s inspiring to work in a project, that has a far-reaching positive impact. The solution has helped companies to improve their heat deliveries and become more sustainable. Also, there are benefits in collaborating with the science community; we involve people from academia to combine the current research from the field of sustainable energy and the available data of the project. As a result of this collaboration, we can get the latest developed methodologies and frameworks, and the science community can have access to the high-quality data of the project.
Exploring the opportunities of Open Source Technology
The technology is based on open source and cloud components. We have used microservice architecture in building the platform, and it’s based on open source technologies. The platform is “containerised” and can run in any cloud technology (e.g. AWS, Azure, GCP). The chosen architecture and the tech make it easier to adapt the system for future needs.
The community wanted to work with open source to lower costs and eliminate the risk of supplier lock-in. In this case, we needed to take into consideration also the fact that energy supply is critical for the society to function.
It’s been really fun to work in a set-up like this. Our leading architect is really into open source technology, and other team members have had great opportunities to learn more. We’ve also run into some issues during the project. We needed to do some adjustments and changes to improve the reporting. Gladly we managed to solve this with a relatively small effort, which proves that the tech and the architecture in the platform are working as they should.
Best results are created in a caring environment
The collaboration in the Solita-team has been great. We have an open learning environment where everyone is doing their best, and there is a true will to contribute. Our ways of working are flexible, and everyone’s professional know-how is appreciated. Since the beginning, we have played well together as a team. Cooperation with the broader community has also been smooth.
Solita has a people-focused culture, and that is reflected in our projects. It means that we work in a caring environment. People and their concerns and opinions truly matter. In the Smart Energi case, we do regular reviews of the internal ways of working and check the pulse of the team. In our weekly meetings, we discuss how everyone is doing and if someone needs support. There is an ongoing dialogue to make sure that all team members are in a good spirit.
In our culture, good results are, of course, highly important, but there is a common understanding that successful projects are delivered in an environment where everyone can contribute and feel good.
Patrik and Alexei are working at Solita’s Swedish Community. The community joined Solita’s workforce in November 2019 when Solita and Ferrologic formed a North European leader in data-driven digital transformation.