Combined Solutions Are Giving Utilities a Competitive Edge

As a combined solution, Ciber’s Utility-in-a-Box and Energyworx’ BIG Data Crunching platform, help utilities to transform their business model.
Published: Thu 05 Nov 2015

The energy industry is undergoing dramatic change as it grapples with a number of factors including deregulation and liberalization, declining margins, the introduction of smart meters and smart grids, and increasing consumerisation. These elements are calling for a change in current business models.

In the recent webinar, Customer Centric  Business Models for the Energy Transition, experts from Energyworx and Ciber discuss how these challenges can be overcome through the use of a combined solution: Ciber’s Utility-in-a-Box and Energyworx’ BIG Data Crunching platform.

Two solutions transforming business models

Rinse Veltman, Global Head of Utilities, Ciber, discusses how by combining the solutions, utilities can transform their business model and adopt a more competitive edge.  

Matthew Ross, Energy Strategist, Energyworx, describes how Energyworx’s BIG Data Crunching platform provides scalability to handle the increasing volume of data which has come about from the energy transition. The platform runs on the Google Cloud Platform which has no storage or processing limits and thus no performance limits; the platform is able to crunch data as fast as you want. By combining data from different sources, valuable new insights are created, sparking new business concepts and models for the utility.

Joost van der Linde, Business Consultant Energy & Utilities, Ciber describes the contribution that Ciber’s Utility-in-a-Box makes. He explains that it provides a billing capability that keeps pace with the speed of business development in utility companies.

He explains that the back office billing solution for the modern utility retailer has a wide range of functionalities in order to introduce new customer offerings, and increased agility to shorten time to market for the various offerings. In addition, this is done at a significantly lower cost when compared to other common solutions.  The solution is offered from the cloud as a service to utilities, e-vehicle, service providers, district heating companies and grid companies and it was created from best practices from the telecommunications industry which is years ahead of the utility market.

Specific features which are expanded on during the webinar include dynamic pricing, time of use billing, real time billing and smart meter data support. Market changes and regulations are constantly updated.

Use Cases

Mr van der Linde and Mr Ross discuss some practical use cases of the combined solution which is aimed at giving utilities a competitive edge.

  • Next generation Meter Data Management (MDM). The challenges of MDM include the massive wave of data, limited capability of current meter monitoring solutions and traditional infrastructure solutions,  data quality challenges, and billing issues. The Energyworx data crunching is used to improve data quality and improve the billing process and accuracy. The next generation MDM is a central data store which eliminates the need for complex infrastructure between the meter and the data centre, no need for capex,  provides elastic storage  in the cloud and processing capacity, offers continuous evolvement and new features, provides easy access through Energyworx  API, features white label business ready components, and has a proven MDM cost reduction of up to 80% per year. “It’s not only about smart meter data, it’s also about gaining value from data diversity. The Energyworx platform is able to cope with this endless flow of data diversity. The idea is to create  a single, centralised view of data which is accessible to many and for many use cases. That is the key to success,” explains Mr Ross.

  • Social energy. The smart meter has failed to deliver on customer engagement. Energyworx’s aim is to harness the true value of the smart meter data to help utilities gain a competitive edge and improve their relationship with their customers. Energyworx provides a visualization app which correlates and analyses data daily, providing a real time view of data. Gamification helps to benchmark usage with others and challenges customers to save energy.

  • Dynamic pricing and time of use billing and how these functionalities can accelerate demand response solutions for the energy transition. There is an increase in electrical appliance usage as well as distributed energy resources which is putting strain on the traditional grid design, creating increased peak load and grid instability. The most cost-effective solution is to make demand follow supply based on price. The dynamic retail price determines customer behaviour. “This mechanism is at the heart of demand response and Ciber Utility –in- a-Box accelerates demand response solutions for the energy transition.” This mechanism will increase grid stability, customer satisfaction and decrease peak load, explains Mr van der Linde.

  • Real-time rating and billing and how this can offer instantaneous financial insights resulting from customer behaviour. Real-time insight removes uncertainty from the billing experience.

The presentation closed with some interesting Q&A with the audience. To listen to the webinar, click here.


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