When Gradyent began the development of digital twins for heat grids in 2019, it opted for UbiOps’ cloud platform to host and speed up data science and algorithmic processing. At the start, the innovative company from Rotterdam managed the software itself. In late 2022, it will switch to UbiOps’ managed solution. ‘This means we will always have the latest and greatest and it saves us a massive amount of time,’ says Ivo Fugers, head of Gradyent’s Digital Twin.
Gradyent is a successful scale-up, they help energy companies optimize their heat grids. They create a digital twin of a complete grid (all mains, pumps and heat exchangers from the source to the customer). This collects data from the system and gives insights into the performance of the physical network. On the basis of hydrodynamic and thermodynamic models, artificial intelligence, geographic, sensor and weather data. This allows for the better simulations and real-time management. The information gathered in this way reduces heat loss and increases efficiency, making the heat grid more profitable and sustainable.
Simpler and faster
The cloud platforms on which the digital twins run is owned by UbiOps. It allows Gradyents’ experts to easily and quickly turn their data science models, AI and Machine Learning algorithms into live and scalable applications. Ivo Fugers, Head of Digital Twin, says: ‘Every engineer in my team without cloud experience can learn to work with UbiOps within 30 minutes. And that is, in part, to its easy user interface.’
Contact between Gradyent and UbiOps began shortly after Gradyent was founded in 2019. Ivo says: ‘At the end of that year we started working with our initial customer, and we were looking for a serving solution for that first digital twin. We did not have enough in-house cloud serving knowledge – nor the capacity to work on it. We were fully focused on the challenges of our own product.’
‘Exactly what we’re looking for’
Thanks to the partnership, Gradyent was able to very quickly complete its first digital twin during those early stages. The time to market was estimated to be six months shorter than if Ivo and his co-workers would have had to build their own infrastructure and tooling.
‘UbiOps’s platform came along at the perfect time: they meet and complement many of our requirements. Over the years, we have asked ourselves whether or not we should create our own platform, or to join up with a different company. But our conclusion was always the same: they offer exactly what we need. It is amazing! They are always a front-runner with their features, whenever we need something it turns out it’s already an option – or planned for release in the next update.’
Switching to a managed cloud solution
During the first years, Gradyent hosted the UbiOps software itself. In late 2022, it’ll switch to the UbiOps’ managed solution. Maintenance and management of the infrastructure and software will be handled from then on by UbiOps, but it will continue to run in Gradyent’s cloud. ‘We used to do it ourselves, but it is just not as efficient. The UbiOps team can do it better and it saves us a massive amount of time.’
‘It lowers the barrier to entry as much as possible. We can quickly make a fully calculated digital twin live, so it is ready for real-time optimization. UbiOps makes sure we always have the latest and greatest version, including all its options.’
Room for growth
The managed cloud solution in this way ensures there is sufficient room for growth for Gradyent, a company that is very successful across the border. Ivo: ‘We now have dozens of operational digital twins; we aim to have a few hundred in a couple of years. UbiOps’ solution is fully scalable, so it will continue to grow alongside us.’
Reliability and stability of the digital twins and the UbiOps cloud platform are important preconditions. ‘It involves the live control of energy networks; which cannot go down.’
‘Security is also an important factor. One benefit of the managed solution is that UbiOps maintains the cluster and ensures everything is up to date, in our cloud – so we practically own it. And because it involves mission-critical systems, we provide optimal protection of the digital twins and the data.’