« Back Reflection 21.12.2017

From products to platforms

Timo Chrons, CEO, Aidon Oy:

What exactly is a platform economy and what role does it play as far as businesses are concerned? To put it simply, platform-based business models – and the strategies they enable – serve to connect people and companies with products or services they need.

The World Economic Forum says that the shift from the linear, resource-heavy, producer-driven industrial model to the demand-driven, multi-sided platform model is not only underway, but is also profound. In fact, Accenture notes that in the digital economy, platform ecosystems are nothing less than the foundation for new value creation.

This market model has been around for centuries. Today’s version, however, is enabled by several elements: connectivity, the growing power of data and data analytics and, increasingly, the availability of low-cost, cloud-based processing, storage and tools.

Many groundbreaking products and services are based on platforms; algorithms and cloud computing, in turn, are the foundations of the platform economy. With the clouds they operate, for example, companies such as Amazon, Microsoft and Google, among others, are gaining from being platform owners.

We at Aidon have been helping DSOs boost the reliability of electricity distribution. As digitalisation continues to change the energy market, the shift is driving DSOs to continuously upgrade their distribution network solutions to fit future requirements and regulation. Platforms offer the answer and our metering infrastructure is an excellent example.

In Norway, Hafslund Nett is taking advantage of this technology megatrend and utilising this kind of platform model in their business. Norway’s largest DSO is currently deploying a smart metering system which is set to cover 700,000 electricity connections in the Oslo area by the end of 2018. The core of this new smart metering solution consists of several of our offerings which together build a platform for making information and services available for the various stakeholders who need it in their processes.

The platform consists or our Energy Service Device (ESD), which measures energy consumption and generates measuring data at defined intervals and when certain events or phenomena take place in the consumption point or in the grid. The data is transferred to head-end system with help of communication solution powered by the Finnish device connectivity provider Wirepas. The head-end-system collects and processes the data from the devices. The system is seamlessly integrated with the DSO’s information system environment, which utilizes PaaS (Platform as a Service) technology including tools for analytics and Artificial Intelligence. The solution naturally has a data protection solution with strictest security levels embedded. Hafslund Nett can maintain this platform and monitor the entire low voltage electricity network and all their customer sites, as well as create significant value to their business. The beauty of the platform is that it is scalable and upgradable: When the energy system develops, when new applications are created for customers, or when a regulator places new rules, for example, these can be addressed, thanks to the flexible platform.

The value-creating power of platform ecosystems opens new paths to growth. To nurture innovation, digital leaders across industries are seizing this new opportunity. Efficient in its flexibility, speed and scalability, the platform economy is reality – and it’s set to rewrite the rules of business.