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Communication Feature | March 2016

We bring the global best practices into Cloud based SaaS platform

Which are the power sector segments you are present in and which are the products and services in which you are well-established in market?
We are the #1 Global Energy and Utility cloud based SaaS platform provider offering solutions in areas of citizen engagement, customer services, demand response, mobile workforce, energy efficiency and big data analytics for electric utilities. Presently, our solutions are being used by leading utilities of North America along with IOUs, Municipalities s and Cooperatives. With the help of technologies such as Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence, Predictive Modelling, Smart HI, we bring the global best practices into implementation. Our suite of integrated solutions can be customized according to the specific requirements of energy, water and gas utilities. Our key products are Smart Customer Mobile (SCM®), Smart Demand Response Management Systems (SDRMS®), Smart Mobile Workforce (SMW®) and Smart iQ (SiQ®).

SCM® is an award winning, and the #1 customer engagement mobile and portal platform that allows real-time, two way communication between a utility and its customers. The platform helps utilities effectively communicate and engage with their customers which not only reduces operational costs of utilities´customer services but increases customer satisfaction. SCM® offers the most effective ways to increase customers´energy savings while maximizing the ROI on utilities´smart grid investments.

Smart Water-iQ
SiQ® award winning cloud based analytics platform with built-in customer and operational analytics that helps utilities identify customer behavior by monitoring their consumption in real time, recommend programs to target customer segments, evaluate performance and help forecast the projected demand.

SDRMS® helps utilities in effective grid management. It helps them profile customers, basis usage trend analysis; define DR events basis the peak load analysis; and then recommend personalized rebate programs tailored for customer segments.

SMW®, the #1 mobile workforce solution, helps improve operational efficiency and productivity of utility employees by providing them job, safety and asset related information in real-time. The platform help utilities reduce field service costs and adhere to safety compliance.

What are the emerging trends in IT solutions for power sector?
Globally, the business model of electric utilities is undergoing a paradigm shift from a being a commodity provider to a services provider due to changing customer dynamics and expectations. The utilities are increasingly pressured to effectively secure supply, improve efficiency, contain operational costs and at the same time comply with their energy saving goals. It is noteworthy that achieving these goals is possible only through collaborative efforts between utilities and their customers. Thus, global utilities are looking forward to customer-centric solutions that provides real-time, two-way communication between them and their customers. In a digitally connected world, the customers have become well informed and highly demanding. Therefore it is important that utilities can ensure effective omni-channel communication with customers. Thus, customer engagement has emerged as a key focus area for global utilities.

Another technology that will continue to transform the sector is BI and Big Data Analytics. The deployment of smart meters and smart grids generates massive volumes of customer and operational data. To derive business value from this data, utilities need solutions that can capture real-time data, convert it into business insights and offer personalized EE/ DR programs to end users. Other emerging trends include the deployments of EV and balancing the peak load factor. Power companies are planning to meet the rising EV charging needs and demand for electricity. Our teams are working on technological innovations that can help our utility partners in adopting the solutions that integrate EV into smart grid to maximize the energy savings and reduce demand.

How smart grids and smart meters will reduce power sector losses?
The distribution sector needs major overhauling to overcome the extremely high technical and commercial losses that adversely impact the financial viability of the Indian power sector. The first step toward IT automation of utilities and implementation of smart grid is deploying smart meters. Traditional meters can provide details of total consumption over a period (monthly or annual). However, smart meters are capable of monitoring and delivering granular data on real time power consumption, power quality, outage incidents, etc. Integrated with automated meter infrastructure (AMI), these meters enable a two-way communication between utility and the end users. This real-time monitoring ensures that the utility can track any tampering with smart meters and faults or thefts in the network. Easy identification of these issues allows utility to undertake corrective measures, without losing time. Due to real-time monitoring of consumption there is no scope of faulty meter readings, thus improving the billing process. This in turn ensures that every single unit of electricity disbursed by the utility is accounted for. This results in reduced technical and commercial losses for the utility.

The smart meters can also be integrated with big data and analytic platforms that can provide critical insights based on real-time customer and operational data. The customers´usage pattern trend analysis helps utilities plan supply during peak hours, accurately forecast demand, predict and handle outages. An effective demand response management program, improves efficiency and reduces losses and operational costs for the utility. They can segment customers, basis consumption and educate them to use energy more efficiently and reduce their bills. This changed relationship between utility and its customers will be a paradigm shift and will go a long way in improving the viability of the sector.

Power outages and peak power management are the major challenges in India. How your solutions will be able to address these issue?
Through our unique suite of solutions for smart cities, we try to help utilities address key challenges of outage management, demand response management, citizen engagement, energy efficiency and reduced carbon footprint. Our Smart Customer Mobile (SCM®) offers a user-friendly interface, real-time and two-way communication that empowers customers to monitor and manage their real-time usage data anytime, anywhere and on any device. Through real time alerts and notifications, utilities can notify their customers about planned & unplanned outages, fault restoration, etc. It has in-built analytic capabilities that allows utilities to keep track of consumption patterns, billing and payment history, customers enrolled in Energy Efficiency/ Demand Response programs, customer segmentation allowing customers to manage their electricity during peak hours. This behavioral and trend analysis helps utilities recommend personalized saving programs to its customers through different communication channels. Smart Demand Response Management Systems (SDRMS®) is another cloud based platform that automates utility demand response programs for any consumer load and helps in improving grid stability. It can monitor and control distributed generation, building management/energy management system, home energy management system and electric vehicle charging stations. SDRMS® helps utilities capture end users´consumption data on periodic intervals and analyze their usage pattern during a Demand Response (DR) event. It allows utilities to create a comprehensive load profiling based on peak demand analysis. The platform offers real-time communication between utility and its customers. It can send personalized notification to them before the occurrence of an event; while post-event they can inform customers how much they saved. Thus, encouraging them to participate more actively. Post a DR event helps utilities track which customers participated, how many reduced their consumption, how much total energy has been saved.

What are the segments in which Indian power sector is adopting global benchmarks in technologies and in which areas India is lagging?
The proliferation of information technology in the Indian Power Sector has been relatively slow compared to the global standards. However, unbundling of the sector, emergence of private players and government´s increased focus on policy reforms has urged utilities to realize the potential of information technology in improving the sector´s viability. The smart grid and smart metering technology has attracted utilities to explore the opportunities and benefits of implementing and deploying smart applications in this sector. Realizing this, the distribution companies have started to adopt and automate some of their processes. However, the scope of these deployments is limited either to meet operational requirements or increase customer satisfaction. Hence, a majority of the implementations are limited to areas of billing and payment, customer relationship management (CRM), enterprise resource planning (ERP) deployment. There is a huge untapped potential in various other segments where utilities can emulate the global technologies and best practices. Some of the areas of improvement can be automated meter infrastructure (AMI) which facilitates a two-way communication between a utility and its customers. By providing real-time information about the customers´consumption pattern, it allows end users to monitor and manage their usage and hence avoid any bill surprises. Similarly a utility can notify customers about billing details, outage notification, fault restoration activities, etc. through advanced solutions. Demand Response Management is another important area where Indian utilities should invest as this will improve them in effective peak load management Currently most of processes in a utility involve manual handling of data, which decreases process efficiency and also increases the scope of errors. To optimize the workforce productivity and reduce manual errors, utilities can opt for mobile workforce solutions that can provide real-time information to utility workforce on job, safety and asset related information in real-time on any device. These mobile workforce platforms thus not only help utilities reduce field service costs but also ensure safety compliance. Another area to focus in the Indian utility sector is BI and Big Data analytics which can help utilities in demand forecast, bill projections, customer segmentation, energy efficiency, etc. These areas open up great avenues of opportunity for advanced solutions that can help utilities in improving operational efficiency, reduce costs, increase customer satisfaction and maximize RoI on their smart grid investments.

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