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Building an energy-efficient world

Up to 50%

Fewer mandatory onsite visits, increasing overall productivity of partners and technical services teams

INDUSTRY: Manufacturing
CLOUD: Azure

As the global demand for energy-efficient solutions continues to rise — from climate systems to solar panels to wind turbines and electric cars — the importance of data to enable smarter operations cannot be overstated. Viessmann is at the forefront of this shift and is one of the world’s leading providers of sustainable climate and renewable energy solutions. A family business, Viessmann is developing smart climate solutions for heating, cooling, ventilation and more for both residential and business customers around the world. In particular, its focus is on creating sustainable solutions that ensure energy efficiency and cost efficiency. With a high six-digit number of connected devices — from ventilation and heating systems to photovoltaics and battery storage — generating over 2.5TB of machine data each day, the company needed an answer to its scalability challenges brought on by legacy systems that were costly to manage and highly inefficient at scale. With the Databricks Data Intelligence Platform, Viessmann is able to leverage IoT-enabled devices and monitoring apps to perform predictive maintenance and remote service sessions to help homes operate more efficiently and to reduce the number of onsite visits — helping both Viessmann and its customers decrease their carbon footprint.

Data cost, scalability and stability all impact the ability to deliver value

Technology is changing the way people, homes and businesses use and consume energy so they can create a sustainable future. Core to this transformation is data. Smart devices, from thermostats to HVAC systems, are leveraging IoT sensors to capture real-time event data for trending, predictions and automation. At Viessmann, it's not enough to have the data — the data must also be of the highest quality and reliability so the company can be confident in its analysis and provide valuable insights to its customers that will not only help them save on their energy costs, but also ensure their highest degree of satisfaction.

Viessmann's previous data infrastructure created data silos, was costly to scale and had stability issues that impacted its ability to deliver ML-driven insights to those who needed them most — its customers. Additionally, this legacy system hindered the ability of the data science, data engineering and business teams to work collaboratively in an effective way. This meant that it took longer for product innovations and insights to actually reach the customers.

"Speed and agility are important for us," said Jan Metzger, the Lead Data Engineer at Viessmann. "In the past it was not so easy to get features production-ready quickly, which meant it took longer to share these features with our customers."

In order to realize its vision to enhance its line of smart energy devices, Viessmann needed a cost-effective solution that could scale its models and get features into consumers' hands more efficiently — that's where Databricks came in.

Lakehouse architecture facilitates new energy solutions that delight customers

With the Databricks Data Intelligence Platform as the central hub for all its data and analytics, Viessmann is now having a much easier time extracting insights to support both product innovations and customer support. With a more collaborative and open approach to data and analytics, Viessmann's data teams are able to create ML models faster and move from idea to production solution in record time.

"Whether it's predicting system errors or diving into energy consumption metrics to power recommendations to customers on how to save on their energy bill, Databricks has allowed us to democratize our data and deliver new business innovations," said Metzger.

For example, a drop in water pressure is a common concern with heating systems. With Databricks acting as the central lakehouse for all relevant data, Viessmann's teams were able to efficiently create models to detect anomalies so they could warn customers when pressure drops. Not only that, but they were also able to train algorithms to forecast energy consumption and the remaining lifetime of its components, enabling the company to give customers practical recommendations at the right time.

"Simultaneously with the development of new products, we have to create new algorithms for our Digital Services offering," said Marina Pausch, the Head of Data Science at Viessmann. "Now when we create a new prototype, it's quite easy for the data engineering team to take it over and turn it into reality."

And with dashboards via Power BI, Viessmann is able to democratize its data across various teams within the company. With actionable insights at its fingertips, the business can now gain a deeper understanding of how to improve product reliability, marketing performance, quality of technical support delivered and more.

Scalability and efficiency mean a more customer-centric company

By simplifying the access to and democratization of data across both its data teams and the business, Viessmann is now able to bring that value directly to the customers — both the residential end users as well as the installers — for more intelligent and proactive decision-making.

A great example to illustrate this downstream benefit of better data is with Viessmann's "remote service" offering. Previously, installers would have to visit customers for routine maintenance once a year. Thanks to Viessmann's IoT solutions and the Databricks Data Intelligence Platform, the organization can now offer a permanent and continuous inspection.

Through data-driven innovations like remote service powered by Databricks, they have reduced the number of mandatory onsite visits by up to 50%, which increased overall productivity for its partners and technical teams. Instead of making costly and inefficient annual visits, installers can now get direct data insights on devices to ensure everything is running smoothly, only needing to visit the customer when there's an urgent problem. This allows installers to provide better and more satisfactory service for customers at a fraction of the cost.

Ultimately, Viessmann is going to continue ramping up its use of Databricks in order to speed up its model development and keep focusing on making life better for its global customers.

"As we use our data more and more, we can become an even more customer-centric company," added Pausch. "Databricks makes that possible."