Achieving AI and Machine Learning to accelerate the energy transition

Achieving AI and Machine Learning to accelerate the energy transition

A successful and timely energy transition needs Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning (AI\ML ) to accelerate change. 
The transition to sustainable construction could well be at the forefront of such a transition.  

Achieving AI and Machine Learning to accelerate the energy transition

Reducing costs, enabling more performant (new) energy businesses and the complex coordination of multiple energy players are crucial in this transformation. However we’re still in the early stages of AI\ML, how can we achieve AI\ML rapid adoption at scale?

Why there is no energy transition without Intelligence Intensity

For the green deal to succeed, we need to start moving towards a whole system approach, interconnecting sectors from diverse energy carriers to industries, transport, and buildings, driving Power-to-X, industrial clusters, industrial smart steering, 24 by 7 green energy matching, hybrid energy parks, and new low-carbon energy value chains leading to billions of networked “things”. Flexible yet complex coordination is required that is close to real-time and optimised for multiple, varying stakeholder interests – impossible to be done by humans.

The key role AI/ML plays in reducing the gigantic investments required for the energy transition can lower the levelised costs of energy, accelerate the issuing of permits and grid connections, and optimise yield, thus speeding up the deployment of the massive renewable generation required. Grid capacity can be expanded digitally, avoiding traditional grid reinforcements that are expensive and time-consuming to build. AI\ML also enables flexibility services coordination for maximum DERs value and infrastructure usage.

Microsoft is fully committed to a rapid AI\ML adoption at scale which is already evolving into a technical reality with higher use than anticipated. Partnerships and co-innovation with clients and partners and the wider ecosystem accelerate the creation of missing digital solutions and the development of digital accelerators for wider, faster, and simpler adoption of digital.

Accelerating AI\ML innovation through open data platforms, open ecosystems, open-source

AI\ML needs a lot of data! Strengthened open energy data platforms give innovators in the ecosystem access in a safe, scalable and performant way to vast volumes of quality data essential to train AI models. Microsoft joined OSDU (Open Subsurface Data Universe) to create an open-source, cloud-agnostic platform to collect subsurface data from O&G operations valuable to O&G but also to renewable offshore players.

Energy Datahubs in Europe also play a vital role in driving innovation. This is why Microsoft and Energinet partnered to co-create the open-source Green Energy Hub blueprints on GitHub for experts to contribute and for others to develop their own data hubs, creating an accelerator for the future smart green solutions.

With AI still in its early stages, it is key to inspire energy players of its successful, tangible impact and to facilitate access to solutions. Microsoft launched the Open AI Energy Initiative (OAI), an open ecosystem for operators, independent software vendors, and equipment providers to offer additional solutions, and the global AI Centre of Excellence for Energy called Microsoft Energy Core features over 40 partner solutions.

The driving co-innovation force of strategic partnerships with energy leaders

Strategic partnerships with market makers enables the acceleration of transformation but also to co-invest deeper and wider in the creation of leading-edge digital solutions for current operations and for the complex chain orchestration needed for a successful energy transition. Foundational research for AI in energy and energy-specific platform-based capabilities are not only developed faster.

These intelligence-intense, leading-edge lighthouse use cases inform the industry for fast followers and create digital optimism for speed. Together we become a driving force for the formation of new value chains, ecosystems, and business models that accelerate meeting the goals of the green agenda.

Utilities specific digital accelerators for wider, faster, and simpler adoption

Energy players want more pre-built capabilities specific to utilities for faster time to market AI\ML models. The 15 years of enhanced utilities-specific industry data models acquired from ADRM exemplify the current enrichment with automation of data ingestion from multiple sources, addressing a major hurdle on data.

Another example is the common domain-specific ontologies that are fundamental to accelerating the development of digital twin solutions. Microsoft, together with Agder Energi, launched the open-source Energy Grid Ontology to be added by others for smart cities and smart buildings.

More broadly, the road ahead is for industry clouds. Energy players can focus much higher in the technology stack at the business applications layer, thus shortening innovation cycles, getting faster into the predictive era, and simplifying adoption.

Through co-investment, Microsoft is accelerating the development of energy-specific platform-based capabilities allowing energy players to focus their AI efforts at the business applications level such as for portfolio optimisation, risk management, and also trading.

WATCH: Why AI is key in solving complex energy transition challenges

Learn more about Microsoft

The above-featured image is of Shell on the very subject of Energy Transition through AI, etc.

Developing countries are being left behind in the AI race

Developing countries are being left behind in the AI race

Developing countries are being left behind in the AI race in spite of what is constantly vented out by the local media in the MENA region.

Developing countries are being left behind in the AI race – and that’s a problem for all of us

By Joyjit Chatterjee, University of Hull and Nina Dethlefs, University of Hull

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is much more than just a buzzword nowadays. It powers facial recognition in smartphones and computers, translation between foreign languages, systems which filter spam emails and identify toxic content on social media, and can even detect cancerous tumours. These examples, along with countless other existing and emerging applications of AI, help make people’s daily lives easier, especially in the developed world.

As of October 2021, 44 countries were reported to have their own national AI strategic plans, showing their willingness to forge ahead in the global AI race. These include emerging economies like China and India, which are leading the way in building national AI plans within the developing world.

Oxford Insights, a consultancy firm that advises organisations and governments on matters relating to digital transformation, has ranked the preparedness of 160 countries across the world when it comes to using AI in public services. The US ranks first in their 2021 Government AI Readiness Index, followed by Singapore and the UK.

Notably, the lowest-scoring regions in this index include much of the developing world, such as sub-Saharan Africa, the Carribean and Latin America, as well as some central and south Asian countries.

The developed world has an inevitable edge in making rapid progress in the AI revolution. With greater economic capacity, these wealthier countries are naturally best positioned to make large investments in the research and development needed for creating modern AI models.

In contrast, developing countries often have more urgent priorities, such as education, sanitation, healthcare and feeding the population, which override any significant investment in digital transformation. In this climate, AI could widen the digital divide that already exists between developed and developing countries.

The hidden costs of modern AI

AI is traditionally defined as “the science and engineering of making intelligent machines”. To solve problems and perform tasks, AI models generally look at past information and learn rules for making predictions based on unique patterns in the data.

AI is a broad term, comprising two main areas – machine learning and deep learning. While machine learning tends to be suitable when learning from smaller, well-organised datasets, deep learning algorithms are more suited to complex, real-world problems – for example, predicting respiratory diseases using chest X-ray images.

Many modern AI-driven applications, from the Google translate feature to robot-assisted surgical procedures, leverage deep neural networks. These are a special type of deep learning model loosely based on the architecture of the human brain.

Crucially, neural networks are data hungry, often requiring millions of examples to learn how to perform a new task well. This means they require a complex infrastructure of data storage and modern computing hardware, compared to simpler machine learning models. Such large-scale computing infrastructure is generally unaffordable for developing nations.

A robot assistant holds a tablet.
The developed world has an inevitable edge in the AI revolution. MikeDotta/Shutterstock

Beyond the hefty price tag, another issue that disproportionately affects developing countries is the growing toll this kind of AI takes on the environment. For example, a contemporary neural network costs upwards of US$150,000 to train, and will create around 650kg of carbon emissions during training (comparable to a trans-American flight). Training a more advanced model can lead to roughly five times the total carbon emissions generated by an average car during its entire lifetime.

Developed countries have historically been the leading contributors to rising carbon emissions, but the burden of such emissions unfortunately lands most heavily on developing nations. The global south generally suffers disproportionate environmental crises, such as extreme weather, droughts, floods and pollution, in part because of its limited capacity to invest in climate action.

Developing countries also benefit the least from the advances in AI and all the good it can bring – including building resilience against natural disasters.

Using AI for good

While the developed world is making rapid technological progress, the developing world seems to be underrepresented in the AI revolution. And beyond inequitable growth, the developing world is likely bearing the brunt of the environmental consequences that modern AI models, mostly deployed in the developed world, create.

But it’s not all bad news. According to a 2020 study, AI can help achieve 79% of the targets within the sustainable development goals. For example, AI could be used to measure and predict the presence of contamination in water supplies, thereby improving water quality monitoring processes. This in turn could increase access to clean water in developing countries.

The benefits of AI in the global south could be vast – from improving sanitation to helping with education, to providing better medical care. These incremental changes could have significant flow-on effects. For example, improved sanitation and health services in developing countries could help avert outbreaks of disease.

But if we want to achieve the true value of “good AI”, equitable participation in the development and use of the technology is essential. This means the developed world needs to provide greater financial and technological support to the developing world in the AI revolution. This support will need to be more than short term, but it will create significant and lasting benefits for all.

Joyjit Chatterjee, Data Scientist (KTP Associate), University of Hull and Nina Dethlefs, Senior Lecturer in Computer Science, University of Hull

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

The Conversation

Three key factors shaping homes of future

Three key factors shaping homes of future

Three key factors shaping homes of future

Three key factors shaping homes of future

CallisonRTKL (CRTKL), a global cultural agency specialising in architecture, planning and design, has published a report forecasting the future of the built environment and the key factors that will shape the residential market and its BTR and senior living lifestyle developments in 2022.   

According to the report, the brief for the home is changing. The need now is for productive living environments with the technological infrastructure to support residents. Consequently, a new era is driving hybrid lifestyles and hybrid working cities. Residents are working, exercising, shopping, learning and meeting in more unexpected ways, which are now being dictated by purpose and convenience rather than demand. 

For example, coffee shops are popping up in offices, ghost kitchens in hotels and healthcare services in apartment buildings. As these lines continue to blur, a different set of residential amenities are emerging and bringing with them, buildings that will play a more active role in the health and wellness of those that inhabit them. 

Obada Adra, Associate Principal at CRTKL, commented: “The residential market and the demands being placed on the home have changed. The need now is for places that are fluid, flexible and authentic. Across the region, people are demanding a more dynamic lifestyle offering that caters to new hybrid working styles and provides greater community and cultural connection. 

“At CRTKL, we are developing a blueprint for new buildings that will be more hybridised with changeable systems, structures and modules that can be adapted to suit the evolving needs of the market,” Adra said.  

According to the report, three new concepts are driving residential development:

* The Home of Things (HoT): This refers to the physical objects within the home that are embedded with sensors, processing ability, software and other technologies that connect and exchange data with other devices and systems over the Internet or other communications networks. Innovative technology in a fully integrated HoT allows endless opportunities for improved home performance and convenience. Connected and controlled through a resident’s mobile device, the HoT could support amenities by tracking, measuring and improving personal energy usage and well-being. Biometric data gathered here could then be shared with in-house practitioners or resident nutritionists, counsellors, and other health professionals that could rotate through a new type of hyper-local medical office or telemedicine pods that are built into the offer.

* The Branded Residence – Residential meets hospitality meets healthcare: New attitudes about health, wealth, and family are transforming an industry that formerly defined by medical care and home equity. Seniors are delaying entering interdependent living, choosing to age-in-place and increasingly demanding more urban settings and connections to communities and culture. As residents, they want an inner-city lifestyle, impressive amenities, luxury services, superior care, varied culinary options, and resort-like experiences where they can grow and thrive as aging individuals. Spaces that allow their lifestyles, hobbies, and pets to move with them – where they can feel at home, host others, and gain access to improved convenience and care. 

To attract the booming elderly population, development is moving in a new direction towards brand residences and a lifestyle product that blends residential operations with a hospitality approach that is based on a professionally managed rental model. These models will focus on holistic health, community integration and mixed-use opportunities, incorporating senior wellness programs across education, exercise (both instructor and technology led), health, nutrition and intergenerational connection.

* The Hybridised model or a ‘Universal Building’: There is a need for the new building typology to feature shared uses that come together to form a hub for a community of creatives, who blend living with working and socialising. The Universal Building allowing for flexible development strategies to take shape over time. With the ability to easily shift the program mix, this supports a city’s strategic goals in that it offers innovative housing and workplace options for an evolving and diverse community. It refers to a framework building with changeable systems, structure, and modules. This uniquely flexible platform can adapt program uses based on changing market needs. From the column grid to carefully considered floor-to-floor heights, the building will easily shift between residential, office and social spaces. 

– TradeArabia News Service

The featured top image is for illustration and is of Callison RTKL.

.

MENA Region Digital Transformation Can Create More Jobs

MENA Region Digital Transformation Can Create More Jobs

Here is Gilgamesh Nabeel in MENA Region Digital Transformation Can Create More Jobs as per a recent report that says so.

Over 230 students attend a workshop held by the Elaf Center and the Earthlink Telecommunications at Diyala University, northeast of Baghdad, to be better prepared for the labour market. (Photo Courtesy: Elaf Center for Media Training, 2021).

Lack of digital infrastructure contributes to high rates of youth unemployment in the MENA region, a new report says.

The report, “COVID-19 and Internet Accessibility in the MENA Region”, was published in mid-December by the U.S.-based Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. It assesses the readiness of the MENA region countries to shift employment online, both in terms of Internet availability and digital literacy among the populace.

Its authors, Alexander Farley and Manuel Langendorf, argue that increasing internet accessibility and investing in digital infrastructure development can help governments’ efforts to form a digitally-enabled economic recovery strategy.

While the MENA region is projected to have 160 million potential digital users by 2025, the paper draws a bleak image of its internet infrastructure and accessibility.

Last year, 34 percent of the population in Arab states was not using the Internet, according to ITU data. In 2019, the GSMA, which represent the interests of mobile network operators worldwide, found that almost half the people in countries such as Egypt and Lebanon, which have a mobile broadband network, are not using the Internet. Around 60 million people in the MENA region were not covered by a mobile network.

“Studies have shown that broadband development leads to increased GDP and has a positive impact on employment in the short term – part of the picture are newly created jobs to build new digital infrastructure,”

Manuel Langendorf  A researcher focusing on digital transformation in the MENA region and co-author of the report

Furthermore, with the exception of the UAE and Qatar, which cover about 80 percent of households directly with fiber, only nine out of 100 inhabitants in Arab states used fixed broadband subscriptions, the second-lowest rate of all world regions, after Africa.

The paper says the development of digital infrastructure overall continues to lag behind the rest of the world. This holds back the region’s digital transformation and deprives it of the benefits of investment in improving national core networks.

Digital Infrastructure Development Boosts Jobs 

Overall, unemployment in the MENA region stood at 11.6 percent with the “the low-skilled, the young, women, and migrant workers were affected the most” by the pandemic, the report says. In 2019, youth unemployment was over 25 percent, with further decline in youth employment by an additional 10 percent in 2020.

Manuel Langendorf, a researcher focusing on digital transformation in the MENA region and co-author of the report, argued that proper investment in digital infrastructure can help government confront unemployment.

“Digital transformation is not a silver bullet to solve the MENA region’s protracted unemployment problem, but it can create new job opportunities, especially for the large young and relatively tech-savvy population,” Langendorf told Al-Fanar Media.

“Studies have shown that broadband development leads to increased GDP and has a positive impact on employment in the short term – part of the picture are newly created jobs to build new digital infrastructure,” he added.

While the longer term effects seem less clear, Langendorf thinks a country-wide improvement to digital infrastructure can bring new economic opportunities, including for disadvantaged populations and rural areas.

“These include the expansion of remote working, as an employee or freelance worker, and also allows workers to search for employment opportunities more widely,” he added. “An improved digital infrastructure also opens up new job opportunities in online education.”

MENA Region Digital Transformation Can Create More Jobs
Iraqi students and graduates attend a workshop held by a local training centre and the Earthlink Telecommunications to improve their skills to better meet the labour market needs. (Photo Courtesy: Elaf Center for Media Training, 2021).
Iraqi students and graduates attend a workshop held by a local training centre and the Earthlink Telecommunications to improve their skills to better meet the labour market needs. (Photo Courtesy: Elaf Center for Media Training, 2021).

Citing the installation of ten submarine internet cables between Europe and Africa, he said: “We found a significant and large relative increase in the employment rate in connected areas when fast internet becomes available.”

Do We Need More IT Graduates? 

In the Internet era, when many traditional jobs might disappear, students see IT-related courses as a route to secure jobs.

However, the report highlighted that some countries, like Jordan, graduate around 5,000 students in IT-related fields each year, yet less than 2,000 are hired. Still, some see an opportunity for ICT graduates from the region to fill the shortage of skilled IT workers in Western countries.

Alexander Farley believes the region needs more people with IT knowledge.

“University curricula in most MENA countries are slow to update, thus creating a situation where many fresh graduates hold a diploma but are not ready to start working in the IT sector as their knowledge is outdated,” he wrote to Al-Fanar Media.

“Nevertheless, many MENA startups have had great success in the past years. In 2021, MENA-based startups raised close to $3 billion, a new record for the region.”

Alexander Farley

He called on the education and the private sectors to collaborate to improve the university-job pipeline and close the skills gap. “Both sides should make sure that the latest IT knowledge is integrated into curricula and set up internship opportunities for students and graduates,” he said. “Beyond universities, the private sector and educational institutions can hold more workshops to bring people up to speed.”

The report also identified management skills as one of the biggest challenges to expanding potential of IT in the MENA region. “The lack of management skills affects the scalability of projects and businesses that can make use of the surplus of advanced IT skills,” said Farley.

Moreover, the authors said the MENA region lacks truly innovative IT ventures, and is focused instead on adapting ideas created elsewhere.

“In this context, the region is often described as a consumer rather than a creator of technology,” said Farley. “Nevertheless, many MENA startups have had great success in the past years. In 2021, MENA-based startups raised close to $3 billion, a new record for the region.”

Fruitful Digital Transformation Tips

Governments and other stakeholders need to ensure that the expansion of digital infrastructure focuses not just on connectivity (areas covered by Internet), but accessibility, the authors went on.

“Is using the Internet affordable? Do people have access to devices to use the Internet?” wondered Langendorf. “Mobile industry body GSMA estimated those living in areas with a mobile broadband network but not using mobile internet increased from 41 percent to 48 percent between 2014 and 2020.”

To enable investments in digital infrastructure to tackle unemployment, Langendorf calls on governments to support entrepreneurship. “They need to facilitate starting a business and obtaining loans, and decriminalizing bankruptcy,” he said.

“Besides, they should enable cross-border trade and the movement of skilled people between countries.”

Look out for these physical security trends in 2022

Look out for these physical security trends in 2022

Hassan El-Banna, Sr. Business Development Manager Middle East, Turkey & Africa (META) at Genetec gives us in AMEInfo, a Look out at these physical security trends in 2022.

Standardization of open and interoperable solutions across smart cities, faster hybrid cloud adoption, and a tighter focus on supply chain risks are some of the top physical security topics to keep an eye on

  • Organizations are employing spatial analytics data to cut wait times
  • Video analytics apps will be easier and more cost-effective to implement at scale
  • Smart city investments would reach $203 billion by 2024

The long-term impacts of the pandemic and other geopolitical events will generate new technical developments and considerations in 2022. Standardization of open and interoperable solutions across smart cities, faster hybrid cloud adoption, and a tighter focus on supply chain risks are some of the top physical security topics to keep an eye on.

Top physical security trends in 2022

Monitoring occupancy and space usage will continue to be a significant focus.

Occupancy tracking is still expanding nearly two years after the pandemic began, as businesses see value in the data collected. Organizations are employing spatial analytics data to cut wait times, manage staff scheduling, and improve company operations, in addition to safety goals.

Corporate organizations are also figuring out how to make their workplaces more efficient by splitting their work time between the office and home. The use of data on space utilization translates to increased operational efficiency, better resource management, and significant cost savings.

Large-scale deployments of video analytics will become more feasible.

Video analytics solutions have been in high demand in recent years. More companies are keen to invest as AI techniques such as machine learning, and deep learning continues to increase the power of analytics. However, complex video analytics still necessitate extremely powerful servers for appropriate data processing, making them impractical for large-scale adoption.

We predict that by 2022, video analytics apps will have matured to the point that they will be easier and more cost-effective to implement at scale.

Cybercrime will continue to evolve, requiring new approaches.

According to an analysis by Cybersecurity Ventures, global crime expenditures are expected to exceed $10.5 trillion annually by 2025. This is the most significant transfer of economic wealth in history, with a growth rate of 15% per year. According to the EMEA Physical Security in 2021 survey results, with the rise of work-from-home and the growing adoption of IoT, 48% of MEA respondents believed in the prioritization of the implementation of better business continuity plans. Against this backdrop, 67% of respondents planned to prioritize the improvement of their cybersecurity strategy in 2021. Cybersecurity concerns will continue to be a priority in 2022, with companies needing new approaches to face the growing cybercrime risks.

Businesses will need to be agile and sensitive to the expanding threat landscape as more devices come online and data processing becomes vital to operations. Customers want companies to keep their data safe and secure. Thus businesses must provide more openness. This will bring in a new cybersecurity model based on continuous verification rather than network and system hardening, alongside an increased focus on choosing partners who offer better degrees of automation.

The smart city movement will be aided by open architecture.

Smart city investments would reach $203 billion by 2024, according to a report titled IDC FutureScape: Worldwide Smart Cities and Communities 2021 Predictions. These smart towns are gathering massive amounts of data and seeking to improve urban safety and liveability. According to the IMD-SUTD Smart City Index 2021, the UAE ranks 29th amongst the world’s smart cities, with 78.5% of the respondents believing in the importance of data-driven physical safety procedures such as facial recognition as a part of necessary processes to improve law enforcement.

The ecology of the smart city also includes intelligent structures. Various businesses are attempting to evaluate data from different sensors and automate procedures. The problem is that this necessitates a shift away from proprietary solutions by cities and corporations. Human and data silos are inherently created by the closed-architecture concept, which stifles growth prospects.

By focusing on open and interoperable solutions, decision-makers will get the most out of their current technology investments by improving data sharing and collaboration. Longer-term, they’ll become more adaptable to changing requirements and more self-sufficient in data unification and ownership.

Adaptable access control technology will continue to be adopted by businesses.

Today’s businesses want more from their access control systems. They desire more flexibility in hardware choices, streamlined processes, and increased convenience for those who pass through their buildings daily.

Many businesses had to get innovative to comply with increased health and safety regulations during the pandemic. Regardless of where they are on the return-to-work spectrum, organizations today recognize that the new normal necessitates agility. This is why they’re investing in PIAM systems (physical identity access management).

Businesses may automate employee and guest access requests and remotely alter access rights for all employees using a self-service PIAM system, ensuring greater safety and compliance. Additionally, by combining access control and PIAM systems, onsite movement may be tracked, making it easier for businesses to spot possible COVID-19 transmission. We expect this trend toward more modern and adaptive access control systems to continue as the new year progresses.

Supply chain operations will receive more attention and emphasis.

Organizations are under pressure to evaluate their entire supply chain ecosystem as cyber threats get more sophisticated and global disruptions influence supply management everywhere. During the SolarWinds Attack, a flaw in its own IT resource management system exposed over 18,000 customers to malware, including Fortune 500 firms and US government agencies.

More enterprises and government agencies will widen the scope of their cybersecurity policies to create baseline security criteria for the products they acquire and the vendors they engage with, in a world where organizations no longer have clearly defined network perimeters.

Any supply chain issues in obtaining physical security equipment will encourage firms to become less reliant on proprietary solutions from a single provider. Should product availability, best practices, or lack of transparency for a specific vendor be questioned, decision-makers will be able to browse different vendor options and easily change out system components.

More businesses will migrate to the cloud and use a hybrid deployment model.

 The adoption of cloud computing is increasing. While many businesses aren’t ready to make the entire leap to the cloud, many are looking to the hybrid cloud deployment approach as a way to try out new apps.

As more physical security teams begin to experiment with cloud apps, the advantages of hybrid cloud will become clear. This will propel the use of cloud technology even further forward this year.