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Kansai Electric Power (KEPCO) and Accenture have established a joint venture in Japan - K4 Digital - to help KEPCO accelerate changes in its current business processes.

The project will create new business opportunities with digital technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), advanced analytics and the internet of things.

KEPCO has already started using digital technologies to drive operational efficiencies in certain areas. For example, by analysing data generated by smart meters, which measure customers' electricity usage, KEPCO optimised its power grid equipment and can make more accurate forecasts of solar power production to prevent overloading the grid.

KEPCO is now strengthening these efforts with K4 Digital, which will integrate rapidly evolving digital technologies into KEPCO's core business processes. K4 Digital will build a new analytics solutions platform to render maintenance of power station and grid equipment even more efficient and accurate.

The joint venture will also work towards automating KEPCO's internal processes and offering its customers more personalised experiences based on data such as individual power consumption.

The venture is 80% owned by KEPCO and 20% by Accenture, whose Applied Intelligence practice will play a pivotal role in bringing AI and data science expertise to KEPCO.

The new company, whose digital strategy and transformation were developed with the help of Accenture Strategy, will start providing services to KEPCO on 1 September.

"K4 Digital will be at the core of KEPCO Group's data utilisation platform and Accenture will provide K4 Digital with advanced insights supported by the digital expertise based in our recently expanded Kansai office," said Shinji Igarashi, senior managing director at Accenture who leads the company's resources practice in Japan.

"Accenture is committed to using our deep knowledge and experience in the latest digital technologies and methodologies, including AI and advanced analytics, to help KEPCO not only transform business processes but also to turn business challenges into opportunities."

Accenture announced the expansion of the Kansai office in February to help clients innovate in the digital economy, and the JV with KEPCO further demonstrates Accenture's ongoing commitment to the region.