The technology world is constantly evolving. Streaming services have revamped the music and movie industries, helping to usher in a new era of on-demand content. Mobile apps such as Uber and Lyft have transformed how we travel, while others—such as Airbnb—have changed how we rent accommodation.
This trend is called Anything as a Service (XaaS) and can include products, tools and technologies. As more and more companies move to the cloud, they start providing increasingly sophisticated IaaS, PaaS and SaaS solutions, drastically reducing maintenance efforts. As a result, new concepts such as Machine Learning as a Service, Security as a Service, even Games as a Service and Data as a Service are emerging.
Data as a service, or DaaS, refers to exchanging machine-readable data for something of value between two or more organisations, according to Wikipedia. However, this definition is not the only one and what constitutes 'DaaS' varies depending on interpretation.
Some interpretations do not restrict the data to being machine-readable only. Others omit the value exchange part to incorporate organisations that provide access to data for other reasons rather than profit. Many interpretations refer to cloud computing.
However, the general idea behind all these varying interpretations is that one party provides data to another.
There is not always a clear distinction between the terminology used to describe multitude of data services on the web. For this discussion, let us consider a split similar to the DIKW model.
It is ground zero - raw data that still requires the acquisition and a great deal of effort to use (typically, cleansing, enrichment, transformation). It is not consumer-friendly. Sometimes it's big data that cannot be used without a specific set of technologies that can deal with its sheer volume or velocity—for example, satellite photos and vehicle traffic.
One level above DaaS. The information provided could be used as is and may or may not require additional data acquisition or processing work.
One method of distributing this information is via websites. In this case, data resides solely on the DaaS provider side. A website offering business information about companies, like Crunchbase, could be considered an Information as a Service platform.
The next level includes visuals such as maps, gauges and pie charts, and means of self-service data analysis, including aggregation, filtering and transformation among others. Data acquisition is not required.
The top level is about providing predictions, prescriptions, what-if analysis and other insights, more often than not powered by machine learning and deep domain knowledge.
It's worth mentioning that vendors often offer a package deal which combines the services mentioned above. For example, the European gas market analysis platform appygas provides a map of gas flows, planned route maintenance information (falling under Analytics as a Service), and a route calculator for what-if analysis (falling under Insight as a Service).
The problem with the above categorisation is that the two last concepts are often used to describe software-based offerings. To avoid complications, we will use DaaS as a generic term that covers all these concepts, yet keep in mind the variety of different service forms.
Companies may turn to DaaS for several reasons, including if acquiring the data is their only option or if it is easier than creating it themselves.
Before moving to the advantages of a DaaS, let's look deeper into the problems with collecting or managing data on your own to see why the DaaS market appeared.
The advantages of DaaS below relate to the issues previously mentioned:
DaaS platforms typically remove the pains of data management listed. Although they can still be prone to problems like data quality and availability, in most cases, you have a strict SLA defined by a service provider that will help protect you from these risks.
The energy sector is one of the most data-intensive industries in the world. Every day, energy companies generate and collect vast amounts of data from power plants, transmission and distribution networks, and customers. This data can be used to improve operations, reduce costs, and provide better customer service.
Businesses are always looking for ways to manage their data more effectively, and energy software is a great way to do this-as with the help of Energy Data as a Service (EDaaS).
Enterprises can use EDaaS to track power usage trends, monitor equipment performance, optimise operations, and more. It is also easy to share this data and collaborate with partners and customers.
The energy sector is in the midst of a transformation. It has been shifting to renewables, low-carbon technologies and even net-zero solutions for years. Almost 200 nations have agreed to curb global warming by reducing greenhouse gas emissions and transitioning from fossil fuels. The energy transition is a worldwide movement from fossil fuels such as coal and oil to renewable sources like wind and solar.
What's more, Europe has traditionally relied on Russian natural gas supplies. But with Russia's recent invasion of Ukraine and subsequent pressure on the energy market, the European continent is now looking to reduce its reliance on Russia and move towards alternative energy sources.
LNG terminals and renewable energy sources are viable options for Europe in the future. However, the transition from Russian gas will be a process that takes time. Moreover, natural gas prices are six times higher than in 2021, putting strain on European leaders who have also made ambitious climate promises.
In these difficult times, making data-based decisions is more important than ever and may become a competitive advantage.
The number of companies that provide energy data or energy-related data is immense. This list is in no way comprehensive and only represents a tiny fraction of the information made available by DaaS providers. There’s information about:
Given that most companies now use data to inform their decisions, it's no surprise that Data as a Service is becoming increasingly popular. This approach to data management can help organisations reduce costs, simplify compliance and improve budgeting transparency.
Data is present in many industries, but data-intensive ones like energy can benefit the most from DaaS solutions. Many companies in the DaaS market, like appygas, provide Energy Data as a Service. In today's changing energy market, having timely insights can give companies a competitive advantage and help them weather any storms.
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