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Why Utilities should become Lifestyle Providers

image credit: Greenbird Integration Technology - Alberto Brea
Frederik ten Sythoff's picture
VP Marketing Communications Greenbird Integration Technology

Utilities worldwide are starting to recognise the need to become a platformed utility that can innovate rapidly and offer new services quickly. At Greenbird, I can fulfil my ambition to help...

  • Member since 2019
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  • Dec 12, 2019

An accelerating energy revolution, ongoing digital transformation, and continued disruption across the industry are pushing utilities into a new data driven future. Digital business is quickly becoming the new normal for revenue generation in the energy sector today. That’s why forward-looking CIOs will want to stay ahead of the curve to maximize their revenue potential.

A new generation of energy consumers

If utilities are to become truly customer-centric, they will need to evolve and become digital lifestyle providers, placing the customer at the core of their business. After all, today’s consumers often evaluate their satisfaction by the convenience and ease of the entire customer experience. For example we see the disruption companies like Netflix and Spotify have caused by offering flat rates and on-demand services.

The same holds true for the new Generation Y energy producers and consumers (prosumers). They will not buy a power tariff. These people will buy 70 miles of eMobility. They will buy 70 °F of comfort in their home. They want information and services that are instantaneous and accessible on their terms. They will want a fully integrated solution that leverages automation across appliances, roof-top solar panel energy production, electric vehicle charging and storage. This allows the new generation of prosumers to seamlessly and completely control how they consume and produce energy.

The customer conundrum in the utilities industry

Improving the customer experience is at the heart of this push toward digital. As the expectations of a new generation of consumer continue to evolve and market forces become more competitive, utilities are looking to their data to power many of these objectives. But they’re finding the data is rarely easily accessible or integrated to be used for this purpose. Utilities that continue with their outdated, aging and home-grown IT landscape will become a mere operator of a commoditized infrastructure and will eventually disappear.

Utilities therefore have to make a choice:

  • Being an operator of a commoditized infrastructure and with that face inevitable disruption and neglection in the future energy system.


  • Being an operator of a platform for innovation will put you your utility in the driver’s seat in the ongoing energy revolution.


The digital utility: New opportunities and challenges

The role of the future distributed energy system is not yet clearly defined. This presents utility companies with a great opportunity; a chance to embrace digitalization. In the data driven energy market of tomorrow where the customer takes center stage, the platformed digital utility will hold the key. Utilities need to grab this strategic opportunity to drive innovation by integrating energy data across the entire value chain in a holistic way to drive new customer-centric service innovations. 


Utilities need to realize that integration to a growing ecosystem of systems and partners is not optional. They need to accept that integration is no longer a cost of doing business. Utilities need to understand that integration is now at the heart of their business and core to their success or failure.

Having a future ready Digital Integration Hub turbocharges your API strategy and overcomes the integration challenges that many utilities face today.

Domain specific platforms for Digital Integration such as those that will be demonstrated at DistribuTECH 2020 provides both the infrastructure and pre-configured data orchestrations that enable the digital customer experience today and in the future.

Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on Dec 12, 2019

That’s why forward-looking CIOs will want to stay ahead of the curve to maximize their revenue potential.

This is important-- digital tech can be cool, it can help customers, but real movement will come from the bottom line.

Frederik-- is this a trend where revenue is increasing or costs are decreasing? Which end do these opportunities bolster?

Frederik ten Sythoff's picture
Frederik ten Sythoff on Dec 13, 2019

That is a great point you raise Matt. This is all about transformation. Traditionally, utilities have focused on reliable power and managing the grid and infrastructure. In the past, CIOs have been viewed as a kind of internal problem-solving, emergency service and tasked to manage costs and reduce CAPEX/OPEX, now many are also seen as strategic business partners. CIOs and CDOs leading Digital Transformation in their new role must put the I for Innovation to create new data-driven services that drive revenue.

So Matt, the answer really lies in the decision utilities will make:

  • Being an operator of a commoditized infrastructure with the consequences that follow.


  • Being an operator of a platform for innovation.


Most utilities we speak to around the world have understood they have to change and need to become a platform operator for the future. Digital Transformation is not just about using new technologies to automate existing ways of running a business to reduce costs and improve efficiencies. It is about using emerging technologies to reinvent business models in the face of enormous changes to the world we are living in, a world that continues to be changed by new technologies and new customer demands.

Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on Dec 13, 2019

That's a great way to put it, Frederik. It's all about reframing the business model and the winners will be the ones who embrace that evolution!

Frederik ten Sythoff's picture
Thank Frederik for the Post!
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