Cooperative (coop) utilities are tackling unique challenges, faced with expansive and rural operating areas while also working to maintain the highest levels of member satisfaction.  

Despite being the energy providers and engines of economic growth for 42 million Americans, not all coops have been able to reap the fullest benefit from the latest and greatest technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI). A lack of funding, resource and general understanding of how coops can benefit from solutions like digital twins has held back coops on their digitalization journey to date.

But by being aware of the basics of digital twins and their benefits, coops can begin to leverage the latest tools to improve service reliability and operational cost-effectiveness while maintaining their well-protected community-focused ethos.

Let’s begin by clearing the fog on the use of AI for coop utilities, by explaining the ABCs.

A is for adoption

Perhaps the first question to answer is, what does AI look like for coop utilities? We have likely all heard of AI generative tools, like ChatGPT, but when assessing the needs of coops, AI comes in the form of a digital twin. And at Sharper Shape specifically, a Living Digital Twin.

Put simply, digital twins utilize real-time analytics and predictive insights, which are crucial for managing vast infrastructures like hundreds of miles of powerlines efficiently. This technology not only aids in precise asset management for coops but also enhances decision-making, reducing the need for extensive physical fieldwork.

By adopting solutions like digital twins, coops can take a proactive approach to asset management, using precision AI to stay one step ahead of the challenges they face, enhancing efficiency and decision-making.

Read more of our insights for coops

B is for benefits

Sharper CORE is simple to use, easy to understand, affordable (keeping costs low for your members) and, it can be accessed anywhere, so your data is never far away.

Sharper CORE allows you to:

  • Have real-time access to your data, with a living digital twin that is continually updated to provide the most up-to-date view of assets and the surrounding environment.
  • Collaborate better with your teams, providing all the necessary data in actionable workflows to be accessed anytime, anywhere.
  • Keep costs down for your members with a proactive, not reactive, maintenance strategy.

With a unique operating model, and a unique set of challenges that come with covering a vast expanse of rural land, coops need a specialist digitalization partner that speaks their unique language.

In addition, no two coops operate in the same way, and off-the-shelf often means off-the-pace, but Sharper CORE’s holistic approach adapts to each coop’s requirements, seamlessly integrating with existing processes and solutions.  

Find out more about Sharper CORE

C is for community

The apprehension that AI is going to put people out of work may seem at odds with the people-centric position of coops, which are often some of their communities’ biggest employers. However, in this case, these concerns couldn’t be further from the truth.

As a matter of fact, AI-driven solutions for coop workers act as partner tools for existing employees, providing them with dynamic, real-time data that allows them to make smarter decisions. Think of a digital twin as an additional colleague, a personal assistant, rather than a replacement.

This colleague has the power to travel instantly to a powerline 200 miles away, identify a tree species in seconds and predict when an aging pylon will fall, all without leaving their desk. Their expertise and adaptability free up time for the rest of the team to get to the heart of an issue immediately, leading to greater employee efficiency and satisfaction – as well as more effective allocation of resources and money.

Sound like the sort of person you’d like to employ? Find out more

Concerns about training and educating staff on the latest AI trends are also taken care of with tools like Sharper CORE. As a business that’s been using AI for over a decade, our solutions are already embedded with the latest machine learning technology and are easy to implement with a minimal learning curve.

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