Interview with Jürgen Kandlbinder, Bayernwerk Netz GmbH

Jürgen Kandlbinder heads the “Network Services Control” department and the in-house digitization campaign “NEXT” at Bayernwerk Netz GmbH, based in Regensburg.

Bayernwerk Netz GmbH supplies around seven million people with energy. It is active in five of the seven Bavarian administrative districts, making it the largest regional distribution network operator in Bavaria. Currently, 70 percent of the distributed electrical energy comes from renewable sources. In order to create a modern and intelligent power grid for the future, the company relies on digitization and innovation, supports numerous scientific projects and works systematically on the expansion of energy networks.

Bayernwerk Netz GmbH, head of the “Network Services Control” department and head of the company’s internal digitization campaign “NEXT” (stands for New Experience with digital Technologies)
As head of the digitization campaign “NEXT”
  • Enhancement and optimization of the Bayernwerk process landscape through monitoring, automation and digitization of processes and development of digital applications
As head of the “Network Services Control” department
  • Definition and pursuit of the economic and technical goals for the network services business domain
  • Commercial and process-oriented control of network services
  • Tracking of funds and budget as well as creation and development of commercial control instruments for network services
  • Identification, design, documentation, implementation, control and optimization of homogeneous business processes (process and quality management, supplies and costs, as well as sustainable enhancement (digitization, innovations, scientific studies))
  • Use and implementation of the possibilities of process & data mining technology in order to examine our internal processes, to make them more transparent and to identify relevant fields of action
  • Use of AI and ML technologies in the development of digital applications with the aim of making Bayernwerk more efficient and effective
  • We are currently collaborate very closely with Professor Dr. Fischer. This helps us to better understand the psychological aspects of digitization and to draw the right conclusions for the future.
  • We would also be happy to hold lectures on certain topics about digital technologies in the future, in order to be able to give UR ​​students insights in the practice of Bayernwerk.
For the future, we wish to be able to expand our cooperation with the UR (also on a technical level)
We are already benefiting from the scientific support of our projects through the methodical knowledge of the UR employees, which offers us enormous added value (e.g. in the design of new, open office spaces for our digital units).

Through the contact with motivated and cosmopolitan students and employees of the UR, we hope to receive many ideas. We would be delighted to be able to cooperate much more closely with the UR on exciting projects in the future and to uncover the potential of AI, ML and Big Data technologies in our work environment.
We at Bayernwerk and in our digitization unit NEXT have figured out that the use of AI and ML technologies in our projects already offers considerable added value, it helps us to optimize our process landscape. But we are only scratching the surface – we have not yet exhausted the full potential of these technologies. That is why I think it makes sense, and even urgently needs, to train specialists who are able to use these technologies and can later use them in everyday work.
We mainly focus on the practical use of the technologies. This means that we try to use the research results of others in our everyday work and make with it our employees’ lives easier. But of course there will always be room for experiments in an innovative environment. And we at Bayernwerk are no exception.
As already mentioned: We are more concerned with the use of these technologies in our daily work life. Typical examples are component recognition in a cable trench or the partially automated commissioning or maintenance of customer stations with the help of image recognition.
I studied electrical engineering and business administration. So I’m a career changer in the AI ​​world.

I, or rather we at NEXT, want our employees to shape the working world at Bayernwerk in a future-proof and sustainable manner for the employees and have therefore upskilled ourselves to understand the potential of AI technology and how it can help us with our daily tasks better.
Personally, I realized that I can understand AI technology, or its hidden potential, much better through practical applications than through pure literature research. As a result, the more often this technology was used at NEXT or Bayernwerk in the development of applications, the easier it became for me to understand the technology.
I am fascinated by the versatility of the application possibilities of this technology. I see enormous potential for my industry now and in the future.
We are currently working in almost all of our projects with large, well-known partners – such as IBM, AWS and Microsoft – as well as with small startups
I consider the initiative/the project to be an absolutely meaningful and important matter. I also see potential for us (the digitization platform NEXT and Bayernwerk itself) to be able to make a contribution.
For me, it is not only the technical knowledge of the new technologies, such as AI, that is decisive in order to advance the use of these, but also the issue of acceptance. We can only uncover the full potential if we manage to make people curious and open-minded about such technologies and accept them.

Thank you for taking the time to answer these questions. We wish you a nice day!

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