- The Energy Cloud
- Customer Engagement
Building the Ultimate Energy Cloud Platform
The last 12 months have seen a transformational shift in the software solutions for the power sector. Energy giants GE and Siemens have restructured their businesses to create units more focused on the digitization of the grid and, importantly, distributed energy resource management systems (DERMS). Others, like Schneider Electric and ABB, have invested in relatively new comers like AutoGrid and Enbala.
On the customer solutions side, something similar happened on the customer engagement side. First, Oracle acquired Opower in 2016. Six months later, Tendril acquired EEme, EnergySavvy, and FirstFuel. Then, in July 2019, the company merged with Simple Energy to form Uplight. Uplight continued the shopping spree, acquiring Ecotagious in August 2019.
DERMS and Customer Engagement Collaboration
Something that had not happened at large scale until recently is a crossover between the DERMS and the customer engagement markets. A new announcement made by EnergyHub and Oracle changed that. On August 21, 2019, both companies announced a collaboration to help energy providers intelligently incorporate distributed energy resources (DER) into their customer engagement and distribution network operations. The two companies are teaming up to increase enrollment in bring-your-own-device programs, create a connected utility experience for customers, and enable utility distribution operators to integrate DER at scale.
This partnership joins three parts of the new Energy Cloud paradigm:
- Oracle’s Network Management System provides grid management tools.
- Energyhub’s Mercury DERMS brings the Internet of things capabilities to aggregate different assets.
- Oracle’s Opower provides customer engagement user interaction and experience, including any notifications to the customer regarding demand response participation.
Given the intrinsic nature of DER assets as a customer-sited solution, it makes sense that the interaction for participation is managed through the same windows as all other interactions between the utility or energy supplier and its customers. Eventually, they go beyond the meter and include the performance of the DER assets in the same solution.
A year of restructures, consolidation, and partnerships in the utilities software solution sector is transforming the industry as it tries to build the ultimate Energy Cloud platform. As none of the emerging platforms can be considered finished, companies are expected to continue in-house development of new tools or look for targets for acquisitions or partnerships. Get in your seat and enjoy the ride.