CODE_n Alumni Venios and Greenbird IT pursue a partnership to drive the energy revolution

03/20/2019  |  CODE_n Alumni, Digital Transformation, Entrepreneurship

We received a plethora of good news recently from our CODE_n Alumni community. Last month we were delighted to find out that Norwegian technology company Greenbird and consulting services provider Venios joined forces to accelerate the delivery of innovative data services to utility companies. Focused on driving the energy revolution, both companies are looking forward to working together on smart grid modelling. We interviewed Greenbird’s CEO and Co-founder, Thorsten Heller and Jonas J. Danzeisen, CEO at Venios GmbH, shortly after their partnership announcement. Here is what they had to say.

Iulia: What does this partnership mean for your companies? Why were you interested in a deal with Venios GmbH / Greenbird IT?

Thorsten: For us at Greenbird, the partnership with Venios means two things: first, we get another innovation partner on board, as part of our Utilihive ecosystem, where we work together to deliver an end-to-end value proposition to clients and second, we, as a company can learn from Venios and their experience in the German market and the DACH region.

Jonas: As innovators, we supply our customers with new business cases. A key factor in our endeavours is the ability to integrate the required data in a fast and reliable way. Greenbird creates the potential for an even faster implementation on the customer side, accelerating the digital transformation of our grids.

Iulia: How will this partnership benefit the utilities industry and ultimately, your customers?

Thorsten: Research shows that utilities statistically spend more than 80% of all IT costs and efforts in just maintaining the status quo. Less than 20% are spent on innovating. In addition, utilities spend more than 80% in just preparing and accessing data. Providing an integrated solution and value proposition together with Venios therefore helps utilities to innovate and to faster gain and benefit from smart technologies.

Jonas: Like Thorsten said, in our work with utilities, a considerable amount of time is spent on data access and preparation. With Greenbird as experts in data integration, our partnership allows us to focus on what we are doing best, and that is providing solid value to our customers.

Iulia: Venios is based in Frankfurt, Germany whereas Greenbird IT is based in Oslo, Norway. How do you foresee working together? Is the different location a challenge for you?

Jonas: Although based in Germany, we have a subsidiary in Austria and we also work with customers in other countries, such as the Netherlands and Belgium. With the right tools in place, modern IT allows for location-independent and agile work, so we are looking forward to working with Greenbird.

Thorsten: The world is anyway getting smaller and smaller, mainly due to advances in technology. Our headquarters are in Norway. Nevertheless, we serve our clients in the Middle East, Asia, Europe and of course Scandinavia. Both Greenbird and Venios, we are used to distributed development teams.

Both Venios and Greenbird IT are involved in the development of smart grid solutions and are tackling the challenges facing the energy sector. From your experience, what makes a city smart in terms of energy?

Thorsten: About 60-70% of all smart city use cases or services are based on our experience related to energy. Our vision is to empower utilities to become the platform operator for smart city services, and that means providing a flexible infrastructure platform fostering open innovation.

Jonas: Smart cities are able to manage their resources efficiently. This entails using all possible data sources to optimize services and assets. Overarching digital platforms are able to enhance the performance of urban services, reduce consumption and costs.

How do you see the development of future sustainable energy systems? What effects does digitalization have on this sector?

Jonas: From our customers’ point of view, sustainability in the energy sector means notable improvements in grid efficiency. Digitalization benefits the whole chain of electrical energy distribution, from power plants and wind farms all the way to consumers’ homes and businesses.

Thorsten: We strongly believe in “self-contained communities” or distributed prosumer models and microgrids, where digital technologies are required to manage the information flow. That’s like a kind of sharing economy for energy where today’s utilities operate the digital platform and the grid infrastructure but third parties run the services.