Technology is changing the face of every industry, bringing new challenges and opportunities. The situation for utilities is no different. Energy and utilities suppliers can now monitor and control grid operations at both the transmission and distribution levels. Customers have begun focusing online interaction and adopting new technologies such as the Internet of Things, solar panels and electric vehicles.
In light of these changes, utilities must transform their business models to keep pace with fast-moving technological trends. In order to maintain competitive, it is no longer enough to simply cut costs and comply with industry regulations. Utility and energy providers must become next-gen, embracing three essential areas:
Customers are demanding to be seen as more than just ratepayers, demanding personalized interactions and self-service abilities. Now, utilities must provide a variety of customer engagement options including mobile applications, text messages and other methods. More than that, they must deliver a seamless experience across all channels. Today’s customers want their providers to be more than just a supplier of energy; they want energy advisors.
New ancillary services
Distributed energy services (DERs) will enable customers to participate directly in grid operations, selling back energy they generated or stored and didn’t use. Smart home and the Internet of Things (IoT) will also help providers accomplish the aforementioned goal of becoming energy advisors. By providing updates on what individual appliances are using the most energy or in danger of breaking down, companies can take advantage of new ways of creating value for customers.
Intelligent digital operations
Ultra-customer centricity and providing ancillary services will both be impossible without leveraging data. Analytics can also be used to optimize workforce operations and mobility solutions, enhancing the efficiency of a field force. Data solutions can also provide robust reporting for on-demand regulatory compliance reporting. All of these factors can lead to improved customer and business outcomes.
Responding to these developments will require utilities to utilize asset-thin, cloud-based infrastructure and capabilities to respond to these needs. Doing so will offer the speed and agility necessary for evolving to meet whatever customer or industry demands may arise in the future.