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Unlocking the power of a common digital language

In the rapidly evolving energy landscape, a common digital language is a game-changer. The synergy of ones and zeros is critical for the seamless collaboration between sectors, organisations, systems, and processes. Digital interoperability, a digital thread woven throughout the industry, will accelerate the energy transition, streamline operations, foster innovation, boost efficiency, and reduce costs.  

How can a common digital language make the energy transition cheaper and faster?

Watch the dynamic dialogue between our decoders, Emilie Skoglund and Kristian Lindøe, as they unfold the pivotal role of interoperability in the energy transition.

Kristian Lindøe

In industrial data, lacking standardization hinders breakthroughs. We urgently need common digital languages to propel innovation in the energy transition.

  • Kristian Lindøe ,
  • Group Innovation Manager ,
  • DNV


KRISTIAN LINDØE    So, why is interoperability so important for the energy transition? 


EMILIE SKOGLUND    I see digital interoperability as the ability to interact seamlessly across systems. That could be internal systems or communication towards external parties.


My name is Emilie Skoglund. I work as a consultant in DNV, and my main role is to help support grid operators through their digital transformation. It's allowed me to see how the digitalisation of business processes can increase efficiency and reduce costs. 


KRISTIAN LINDØE    I'm Kristian Lindøe. I'm a Group Innovation Manager at DNV. I'm always curious about finding out how we can take advantage of new technology to make the energy transition happen cheaper and faster. 


EMILIE SKOGLUND    If I were talking to you now in another language you don't understand, it would be quite hard for you to interpret what I'm saying to you, and it's the same with machines. They need a common language that they can use to interact.  

I think that's very important if you want to be able to automate processes and do those sorts of measures to speed up the energy transition. I believe in digitalisation as a tool for that. 


KRISTIAN LINDØE    I think I know exactly what you mean! I hear, for instance, when supply is low because the sun isn't shining and the wind isn't blowing, sometimes, someone has to make a phone call to someone running a hydro plant up in the mountains and ask them to please turn on more water and produce more power. That doesn't sound like a very efficient way of doing it. 


EMILIE SKOGLUND    No, not at all. And that's exactly where the machines can come in and make the processes more efficient, which will free up the time of the human resources so that they can be used for what they're actually supposed to be used for, and not data punching, and manual emails or phone calls. 

To use machines to automate those sorts of processes that can replace humans can save millions of dollars. While some would say that machines are stupid, which might be changing, they see things more in black and white than people do. They need an unambiguous language in which to communicate with each other to be able to get that seamless integration between systems. 

So, what do you see as the role of innovation in all of this?


KRISTIAN LINDØE    I think innovation should apply all its discipline and methods to find the right use cases for technology. Now, we have a lot of technology. We have huge advances in processing power. We have more and more data being produced by more and more sensors. We have artificial intelligence. We have digital twins. We have a lot of possibilities. Innovation can provide a process and tools for making sure that we get the most out of these things, solve real-world problems and do something useful, for instance, making the energy transition cheaper and faster. 

I think that is a useful goal to always keep in mind. And I also think innovation is always best when there is clarity about goals. We see that whether it's wars or space races. If there is a race to be the first one to the moon, a lot of innovation comes from that. If you have a war, sometimes it's about a faster plane, and then you do all the innovation and R&D it takes to get a faster plane than the others. 

This clarity of goals is really important because we needed the energy transition yesterday. So, we're really in a hurry, and we need to speed those things up. 

I think standardisation is a part of the innovation here. It may not sound very intuitive, but innovation is easier if you have some standards, and that is about feedback loops. So, you will make a lot of mistakes, and a lot of innovation is about making mistakes, but also about learning fast from those mistakes that you make and making sure that every time you have built something too expensive or with faults, you learn from it so that you can drive down costs and make things better and cheaper. 

We saw another war example: After the bombing of Pearl Harbor in World War 2, the US had no frigates and then at the end of the war, they had 361 frigates. Most of them were built at the end of the war because the first ones were very expensive and slow to build. But they managed and had a clear need to speed this up. Through standardisation, they brought down the costs and managed to make as many as needed. So, if innovation can help speed up standardisation and ensure that technology is used for solving real-world problems, then innovation plays a good role in the energy transition. 


EMILIE SKOGLUND    So, putting that into our context, specifically, the common language is the standard that lays the foundation for digital interaction. 


KRISTIAN LINDØE    Yeah, exactly. Everyone talks about Chat GPT and AI. I think we first had breakthroughs there because of language; though there may be many different languages, the alphabet and language are somewhat standard. Then, you have somewhat standardised data to train models on and so on. But with industrial data, we don't have enough standardisation and common languages, and then we don't get those breakthroughs. And we sorely need those breakthroughs. 


EMILIE SKOGLUND     Definitely. You're also saying that we don't have those standards across industries because we've been working quite siloed. Different industries within the energy domain have been working separately, and they're in their own little bubble. 

But I think everyone is realising now that we need to come together. We see sector coupling happening now. Not only do we need to learn from each other and share, but the landscape of energy, how it's used and flows, is changing. Everyone sees that we need to communicate and is already working towards that. 

But with this common digital language that we've been talking about, as well, the challenge of this being something that is meant to replicate what we have in the real world. As we know, the real world is quite complex and full of nuances and small details, and to replicate that in a digital language and represent it correctly, at least in the way you're supposed to use it for your use cases, is also complex. We see now that we are working together on creating these information models and common digital languages. 


KRISTIAN LINDØE     Yeah, and I understand; we hear a bit of the same from all parts of the value chain, whether it's regulators or huge companies. What they say is that we cannot fix this alone. We need someone else for everything here. We need someone else to collaborate with to get to these common languages and get this thing going. 

But there is this will to do it. And I think that is because everyone sees the need for the energy transition to happen faster and cheaper. 

Explore the full 'Decoding the Energy Transition' video series where we simplify the complexities of the energy transition, answer key questions, and share practical insights into future energy challenges.

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