This week Mobile World Capital Barcelona organized, in collaboration with Fundación Bit and IREC, Mobile Talks: The digital challenges of energy in the 21st century, a meeting where some of the key questions about the transformation of the energy industry were addressed.

This session was joined by a panel of experts that included Emilio Rousaud, CEO of Factorenergia; Santiago Cascante, head of innovation at global infrastructure & networks of ENEL; Oriol Gavaldá, CEO of Aiguasol; José Luis Domínguez, head of the group Power Systems (IREC); and Oliver Pozo, director of the digital hub of Siemens South – West Europe.

Manel Sanmartí, the event’s moderator and director of Development and KTT at IREC, presented the session asking how technology has changed the pace at which the sector has evolved, changing the nature of business and infrastructure in the energy industry.

Similarly, Emilio Rousaud, of Factorenergia, described some of the main actors that are changing their role as “energy” suppliers to “service” suppliers, putting the client at the heart of strategy.

Santiago Cascante, of ENEL, described the main drivers for change in the “Industry 4.0” thanks to digitalization: on one hand, improving management procedures within companies, and, on the other hand, optimizing energy storage. For this, we need to know how to anticipate the arrival of large volumes of data, in terms of logistics and operations.

However, José Luis Domínguez, of IREC, remarked that Big Data is yet to arrive to the Spanish energy sector, and in order to do so it needs to escalate many of its activities. A more accurate network of sensors or the implementation of machine learning may help to manage in a smarter way, for example, batteries for domestic use, facilitating their installation, management and integration in Spanish households.

Oriol Gavaldà highlighted that in order to reach this point, first users need to be “energy literate”, because they are still somewhat reluctant to digitalize these processes. To manage this efficiently, the process of educating users on the new technological change in the sector and the benefits it brings would need to be accelerated.

According to Oliver Pozo, only 38% of energy companies have their internal processes digitalized, which hinders this transmission of technological knowledge and IT systems for all its customers (both internal and external).

Throughout the talk, the implementation of Blockchain was also discussed as a security improvement in managing and comparing data among users, as well as the need for new dynamic actors in the national energy market, as very few start-ups dare to take on the change.

To conclude the talk, the speakers emphasized the need to change the regulatory framework in order to promote the digitalization of companies. On one hand, to create a greater economic benefit, and on the other hand, to impact society as a whole with an updated CSR and ongoing training, which should come from schools and from businesses themselves.

Those attending the session also had the opportunity to ask the speakers questions about the roadmap for a new regulation and the role new generations will play in this transformation of the energy sector.

Here are the video highlights with more information about this Mobile Talks session: