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3 ways the utility industry is mimicking startup mentality

Munira Rangwala
30th Apr 2017
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The utility industry is constantly under pressure to do more with less. It needs to keep finding different ways to motivate energy consumers to save power. This is because today's environmental and economic realities call for the energy efficiency industry and business leaders to engage with one another more than ever before. Several entrepreneurs have a profound understanding of altering business models, perhaps a better awareness than most policymakers or regulators, and the utility industry is looking to these groundbreakers to gain insights on modernising their business model.

Image : shutterstock

Image : shutterstock

Here are three ways in which startups are inspiring the utility industry:

Utility to become a platform

The utility industry is bound to flourish in the future if it concentrates on becoming more platform-centric. Like education and healthcare, several utility companies are working with antiquated infrastructure. Brands like Google, Facebook, and Apple understood years ago that they would be much more efficient if they extended from simply providing services to offering platforms. Platforms play host to unified technology ecosystems by inviting partners, developers, and users to cooperate and innovate. According to Yoav Lurie, CEO and Founder of Simple Energy, a web platform that utilises social game mechanics to encourage consumers to save energy, “When utilities engage customers in smart energy practices, customers see the value and impact of their usage while driving positive, measurable outcomes for utilities. By leveraging creative, platform-driven collaboration, utilities can better transform customer and consumption data into digital experiences that inspire people to take action.”

Using games to motivate behavioural changes

Humans utterly enjoy the social bonding, positive feedback, and challenges that games provide. The onset of digital technology has simply magnified the hold that games have always had on each of us. Gamification is known to be powerful in encouraging behavioural change. Today, games are designed in such a manner that they can motivate consumers to live rationally, recycle, and save energy. Youngsters are so taken by gaming that different avatars, badges, points, adventures, and virtual currency are more fascinating to them than ordinary life. It is for this reason that Lurie says, “It is no wonder that educators, marketers, enterprise solutions developers, and now utilities are turning to games to help achieve their objectives.”

Making smart use of virtual reality

More and more brands are using virtual reality creatively because of its inherent element of physiological connectivity. Some entrepreneurs in the energy space are trying to educate consumers about energy use in VR formats. Owing to technological advancements, wind turbines are the biggest moving man-made structures ever engineered, which makes it difficult for people to understand how this structure influences the landscape. VR places the user into the landscape, making it simpler to comprehend what it actually takes to create clean energy.

From startups, utilities are learning how to leverage technology opportunities and how to consolidate third- party liaisons. This is because understanding the need for a different business model will be important in securing reliable energy sources in the future.

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