Digital Energy Network: Helping The Utility Industry Reach New Heights In A Digital World

James McClelland

You touch your phone’s screen or flip a switch and the lights in your home turn on; gas is delivered as your stove lights up or furnace kicks on; water courses through the pipes as you run your shower.

You aren’t doing much thinking about the processes in the utility industry that seamlessly deliver these products and services.

So what’s there to change when it comes to the utility industry?

Actually, almost everything!

No way, McFly: We now have more mobile devices than people

Imagine being told in the mid-’90s that you would buy your groceries via a website and have them delivered to your home within hours. Or that you’d pay at the store with your mobile phone – a device that would replace your Walkman (remember those?), your camera, your computer, your calendar, your Rolodex, and so much more. You might have called me crazy, or worse.

Today there are more mobile devices in the world than people, with an estimated 8.6 billion devices and 7.3 billion people. With an estimated 5.8 billion mobile users worldwide, that means almost 80% of the planet’s population is mobile, and each person has an average of 1.5 devices. Technology is digitally connecting the population, bringing new competition, improving efficiencies, and changing the way we do everything.

Now that’s digital transformation!

Digital energy network: Planning for clean, dependable, affordable electricity

The global human population is projected to be 10 billion by 2050. Experts believe the demand for electricity, natural gas, and water will double or triple as vehicles and mass transit go electric. Though the future isn’t easily predictable, one thing is clear – the digital economy needs clean, dependable, and affordable utilities.

The digital energy network combines facets of power generation, transmission, distribution, and retail that embrace new business models and processes and transforms work in a competitive and collaborative digital economy.

The utility industry is currently balancing the efficient operations of its existing infrastructure with the need to adapt to the volatile market environment. Leading utilities are re-evaluating their physical assets and customer relationships in order to meet the needs of a omnichannel, digitally driven world.

Reimagining the concept of the digital utility is crucial, and organizations continue to shape the digital energy network that complements the power supply system. Utilities, consumers, and non-utility players must harness digital innovation in order to anticipate real-time demand and supply, operate self-healing grids, and innovate the customer experience. When you consider new laws surrounding data collection, storage, and exchange; the need to operate as an omnichannel provider; and cloud innovations, you can see both opportunities and challenges.

The utility industry, like every other industry, must act now in order to survive in the future.

Join SAP in Lisbon to learn how the utility industry can prepare for the digital revolution. Learn more here!

This article originally appeared on The Future of Customer Engagement and Commerce.

About James McClelland

James McClelland is the senior global director of SAP Utilities & Energy Industry Marketing, James has over 25 years of experience creating business strategy for the utilities industry. He is a graduate of the University of Toronto, Canada, holds a degree in Business & Commerce, and currently resides in Dallas, Texas.