UK utilities ready to embrace AI technology

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

A recent poll, commissioned by field service management company Oneserve, found that 37 per cent of utilities companies in the UK have plans to integrate AI over the next five years while a quarter (25%) have already integrated the technology into their systems.

The UK senior decision makers in the utilities industry cited monetary savings and customer retention as the two main driving factors for AI adoption.

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

Machine and system downtime also led to a serious negative impact on customer loyalty as well as their company's reputation according to 51 per cent of those surveyed.

However, there is a growing awareness that AI will help solve these issues with 64 per cent of participants of the belief that AI will be incredibly valuable to their business. Four in 10 also believe that AI will support the current utilities workforce by making it more efficient, cost-effective and customer focused.

Of the decision makers that have already implemented AI into their business, over half (53%) said that their workforce has become significantly more productive after harnessing the technology.

CEO of Oneserve, Chris Proctor praised the utilities that have already integrated AI into their systems, saying:

“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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