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Smart Services with AI and Own Data: Insights from the Service Lunch

By Jürg Meierhofer, ZHAW

The recent “Service Lunch: Eating, Learning, Networking” event featured Chris Bochsler from Cando, who shared practical examples of how AI can enable innovative smart services in the field of energy management. By leveraging customer documents and real-time data, Cando successfully linked these resources to an LLM (RAG) framework, resulting in more relevant and valuable outcomes.

Cando’s approach involved integrating the LLM (RAG) framework into various apps. This strategic move also earned them the “Best of Swiss App” Award in Innovation.. By seamlessly incorporating AI capabilities, they enhanced user experiences and delivered valuable services. The LLM (RAG) framework demonstrated versatility by catering to both smaller and larger companies, adapting to different contexts and providing customized services based on specific needs.

One example is Koster Home, a home energy manager, which integrated the LLM (RAG) framework into its home system, including components like heat pumps and photovoltaic (PV) panels. The system helps users determine optimal times for charging their electric cars or suggests solutions for low shower water pressure.

Cando’s energy management system integrates numerous data sources, such as production trends or weather forecasts. For instance, if a steep temperature increase is predicted, the system recommends adjusting heating settings. Or it issues warnings when anomalies occur, translating technical information into a user-specific language (e.g., layperson vs. technical expert).

Learnings included the need to monitor quality, balance data quantity, and stay informed about rapid AI development. The technical approach using the LLM (RAG) framework proved effective. The system combined structured and non-structured data, contextualized information, and utilized vector embeddings. Looking ahead, Cando aims to ensure operational stability through AIOps, maintain quality assurance, or explore ontologies and knowledge graphs. Their innovative use of AI and data integration exemplifies how smart services can evolve and adapt.