Fujitsu: enabling the energy sector’s digital transformation

By William Girling
With the release of a new whitepaper, leading IT/services company Fujitsu has outlined its vision: a more sustainable future for the energy sector...

With the release of a new whitepaper, leading IT/services company Fujitsu has outlined its vision: a more sustainable future for the energy sector.

Already a trusted partner worldwide, the company is a champion of digital transformation, believing that leveraging and applying the latest technologies to existing operations, such as artificial intelligence (AI) and quantum-inspired capabilities, will enable an efficient, optimised and productive future for energy companies.

Here, in the first of a four-part series, Energy Digital will explore specific use cases and track how industry changes relating to the COVID-19 pandemic are causing companies to think about innovative technology and how it can impact their future business.

Workforce and resource allocation optimisation

“The energy sector remains stable as a whole, but significant cracks are emerging in the status quo,” states the whitepaper. Indeed, with fluctuating oil prices, COVID-19 disrupting previous operational paradigms and a mounting focus on increasing sustainability, Fujitsu highlights the immediate future for energy companies could be turbulent.

In an increasingly unpredictable era, energy companies need the agility and flexibility to deploy tens of thousands of skilled workers and engineering staff to the right project at the right time in an ever-changing landscape. 

Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, Fujitsu notes that companies took a broad interest in the importance of project management and workforce/resource management, yet they lacked compulsion due to predictable industry trends and a relatively stable market. 

Energy providers sought to place greater emphasis on environmental concerns and increasing shareholder returns.

Now, however, the optimisation of workforce allocation has been accelerated due to more stringent health and safety guidelines issued worldwide by governments and regulatory authorities, in addition to meeting production targets.

To achieve this, Fujitsu advocates leveraging optimisation technology and services to make informed decisions in real-time which could help maintain a competitive edge. But how is this to be accomplished?

Quantum-inspired computing

Coordinating people, resources and assets with numerous variables and finding the best solution to optimise teams and resources to support the business in a small timeframe is an overwhelming and complex task. The typical approach is manual and decentralised across different regions and teams.

“The mathematics needed to find the quickest, most cost-effective allocation of people and resources is well beyond what the fastest conventional computing systems can provide,” says Fujitsu. 

“There is, however, one technology model perfectly suited to answering these questions: quantum-inspired computing.”

Fujitsu’s quantum-inspired Digital Annealer has a processing speed up to 10,000 times faster than ‘classical’ computers, as well as being 12 Moore’s Law generations ahead of contemporary processors and fully supported by 8,192-bit architecture.

Using the Digital Annealer and optimisation services, the company states that companies will be able to improve profit, save costs, mitigate project delays and generate new revenue streams from previously under-utilised resources with the opportunity to see, on average, a 2% improvement in staff utilisation. 

Simultaneously, and crucially, quantum-inspired optimisation capabilities can factor in qualitative factors, such as worker wellbeing, preferences and work/life balance.

“By harnessing the power of quantum-inspired technology and optimisation services, companies are able to utilise their teams to maximum capacity by assigning the right resource to the right request at the right time. Doing so enables companies to make major strides and quickly move their business forward for long-term financial success. 

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