Cloud, internet of things, big data, predictive analytics, start-up… All the IT industry's hot topics are summarized in this one inside-company start-up, that is having its headquarters at Affecto Finland. The start-up focuses on building a platform called Battery.
What is Battery all about?
Battery is an IoT platform targeted on energy companies. Battery handles big data masses with a scalable solution, which is built on modern but cost-conscious tools and cloud. Technologies used here are MapR Hadoop for the data ingestion and processing and Tableau for the analytics. The need for efficient and advanced analytics has emerged through regulation: Smart metering (hourly data) devices have been installed and the new devices are in operation throughout the country. Before the consumption data was read a few times in a year – now the data is flowing constantly and it’s on hourly level for every customer. The amount of data is exponential compared to the previous situation, and it must be stored somewhere to be tracked and analyzed further. Battery answers to this by offering a platform with enough capacity and performance to ingest and store the data and for transform the data into valuable business information. Metering data can be integrated to other data source – for example combining delivered energies with actual invoicing to get visibility and audit trail for the meter-to-cash process or combine revenue with the cost of electricity and get insight to the customer and product profitability.
How was Battery born?
We had been working with energy companies for several years and learned about the challenges the companies are facing with the using data they have. From our experiences and discussions with customers we discovered that this is something that would truly help the companies to better understand their business and use the data they have in deveoping their business further. About a year ago I joined forces with our IoT guru Timo Tenkanen and we created a concept that started to evolve. Our first customer case started in January 2015. We’re working to build a solution based on the concept and we’re on our way to releasing the first version of a product that can be easily deployed to customers throughout the Nordic Countries.
What is it like to work in an inside-company start-up?
It’s pretty different from what we have all used to before, since we basically two different things at the same time: We have our project responsibilities for our Customer and at the same time we’re building the product. And what makes things really interesting is that we’re developing this with tools and technologies that are all new to us. And we’re enjoying this very much! We try to focus in keeping things moving and getting things done. We design, build and learn. We resolve on issue at a time and then move to the next. And then there’s just normal project management and project work! We still have to do even the documentation!
Currently we have a team engaged with the product development, we’re spreading the word across customers and working closely with them as we make the decisions about the features of the first release and development roadmap. Most of the team members are located at Tampere, sharing the same office, so the communication is easy. Sometimes we are still required to participate in other engagements, since there’s more and more to do in the IoT area every day! As we go forward we’ll have a fully dedicated product team working with customers and future development.
What are the next steps with Battery?
The project with the current customer will continue and at the same time we have some new customer cases that we hope to realize after summer holidays. We’re going forward with the product with selected customers. We’ll get involved and listen carefully about how they see the world, get their view of the most important challenges a modern energy company is facing and how we could best support them with our product.