The utilities industry is under enormous pressure to meet ever-expanding customer demands, all the while keeping costs down and efficiencies high. Demands which can only be met if a new approach is adopted.
Consumers are now much more aware of the utilities they purchase and how they can reduce their consumption. This has been driven in part by increased media pressure for utility companies to simplify their provision and become much more transparent. Knowledge of consumers has further heightened with the development of smart meters and more complex home management systems. Meanwhile, pressure to economise continues, resulting in the common challenge of meeting increasing customer demands, whilst minimising cost.
The regulatory control put upon the utilities industry further intensifies the challenge. It brings a level of unknown that makes planning very difficult. What if regulations change? What if the Government changes? What if nationalisation becomes an option once more?
This complexity makes it very difficult to meet the growing pressures within the industry, but if customer loyalty and growth is to be achieved, utilities companies must find a way to change.
Step 1: Become an innovative technological utilities provider
Advances in energy management are transforming consumer expectations and, whether residential or enterprise, those consumers will be looking for sophisticated help to reduce their consumption. The utility providers that can meet, and exceed, these expectations will achieve the competitive advantage they need to thrive in this changing market.
One area that holds significant possibilities is that of monitoring technologies. Smart meters are becoming commonplace but utilities providers could exploit IoT (Internet of Things) technology in a far more sophisticated and holistic manner.
IoT sensors have the capability to:
- Establish faulty parts that will imminently fail
- Identify potentially life-threatening faults, such as gas leaks
- Uncover inefficiencies through deep learning algorithms
- Identify inefficiencies, such as water leaks or suspicious usage
But collating this information is only the beginning. Effectively utilising the data is the challenge that will make a significant difference in customer satisfaction. That said, achieving this alone will be difficult, not only because of the different elements involved, but because of the complexity of the utilities industry, as discussed earlier in this blog.
Step 2: Forge partnerships to help achieve your goals
By establishing a broad partnering approach you can distinguish yourself as a true innovator whilst bypassing the resource limitations and ongoing pressures experienced in-house. Not only do you harness expertise, but by externalising your service capability, it also provides scalability and sustainability in a naturally apprehensive marketplace.
IoT innovation, as mentioned above, is a perfect example of how this broad partnership can work. Sensor providers can retrofit the sensors (if they aren’t already present) and predictive service management providers can then work directly with you to deliver a truly innovative service.
For example, the right predictive services management partner will be able to:
- Alert you when data is received that could hamper the service you provide, for example, a part within a boiler that shows signs of imminent failure.
- Automatically schedule one of your engineers with the right skills and parts to the site to carry out essential maintenance, fixing the issue before your customer has been inconvenienced.
- Continuously run intelligent algorithms to identify patterns that will provide efficiency savings, for example, a reoccurring or frequent part defect.
This joined up approach will give you a cyclical service that not only collates valuable data but also ensures you utilise that information to its greatest advantage.
By carefully selecting partnerships that give you an ever-evolving service, you can confidently reshape the utilities landscape and become an innovative leader that captures consumer interest.
To find out how Oneserve can help you adopt this new approach in a scalable manner, find out more here.