Press accelerate to compete in future energy

The race to lead converged competition across energy, cars & flexibility

Post by Mark Coyle, Chief Strategy Officer @ mark.coyle@utiligroup.com

 

The race to deliver future energy customer platforms is already underway…

 

The UK government has committed to achieve Net Zero by 2050 with a corresponding obligation to remove internal combustion engine based vehicles from the road by 2040. On 3rd February, the government accelerated the obligation in relation to vehicles from 2040 to 2035 with hybrid vehicles not then allowed either after that date. These commitments represent a hugely ambitious shift in our society that combines both challenges and huge opportunity. From charging at home, to at the home of others plus the needs to such as support delivery fleets and temporary locations such as festivals – the new demands of vehicles, infrastructure and interoperable commercial systems are vast.

At Utiligroup, our mission is to make energy smarter for everyone as part of which we have been engaging in the connected capabilities and software platforms needed in the convergence of energy and mobility. Two years ago we wrote a first insight piece on ‘competitive energy mobility’ when the market was focused on pre-smart metering, price comparison based energy competition (available at https://www.utiligroup.com/empowering-competitive-energy-mobility/). That article stimulated extensive engagement with those seeking to pioneer a new basis of converged energy and mobility competition. It introduced the idea of a mobile energy-car account wallet and competitive interoperability with energy Suppliers; concepts that are now mainstream considerations to design of future markets.

Recently we joined the Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership and a number of electric vehicle working groups, bringing our experience in empowering smarter energy to the new stakeholders in transport. Together we are learning from each other quickly and defining the new platform model needed for the next generation of energy companies. Soon we are exhibiting at the EV World Congress to continue our engagement as energy and mobility start to become a combined part of the path to Net Zero.

Energy supply and electric vehicles are on a path of rapid convergence. Charging the car when and wherever needed is a huge demand on our society. The battery in electric vehicles is an energy flexibility resource that is increasingly combined with microgeneration, storage, smart tariffs and continuous optimisation. That combination empowers customers to be partially self-sufficient and to receive reward for their flexibility. The EV taskforce published its key report ‘Energising our Electric Vehicle Transition’ in late January setting out requirements that underpin best practice and a basis of interoperable competition. Our sector regulator, Ofgem has put forward its Net-Zero plan in which it confirms its push for flexibility services to grow by the evolution of Distribution Network Operators to become Distribution System Operators.

 

A new converged path for competitive energy and mobility is confirmed, it is now a race to deliver it

 

We are now all witnessing the next shift in energy competition as the old price comparison model starts to evolve towards a smarter basis, with a growing range of consumer-connected assets to manage. As customers adopt microgeneration, storage, electric heating and electric vehicles it opens up the possibility for smarter, bespoke tariffs and financing arrangements to be included. Price comparison may become difficult on a like for like basis, as it needs to reflect the extent of reward from flexibility that an energy Supplier provides. Those who combine the assets, tariff and flexibility to optimise both their and the customers cost/income will have a competitive advantage that others cannot reach. With the government obligation for all vehicles to be electric (or hydrogen) by 2035, energy competition will shift accordingly in anticipation.

At Utiligroup, this shift is becoming evident as we engage with an ever-extending range of people and organisations creating the next energy model (which we previously described as energy2.0 back in 2015). This has extended to global companies, consumer technology brands and the transport sector as well as the early leaders from the existing energy sector. Around the world, governments and companies perceive the UK as a thought leader in the Net-Zero and EV transition within a major population economy. It makes us a test bed for the world. Similar island economies face similar needs, which is especially true in the world’s largest, new energy market of Japan. Global car companies including those from Japan are investing in UK energy companies today, to learn and reapply in their home territories. Companies known as the fuel providers, the old ‘oil and gas’ majors are investing, acquiring and innovating themselves buying storage providers and moving quickly towards aggregating flexibility as ‘virtual power plants’.

Even this transition is a first step towards autonomous electric vehicles with a pioneering 230 mile journey on UK roads reported on 5th February 2020.  That is fascinating future potential, with batteries then able to move themselves. But for now we will focus on the immediate electric vehicle transition in front of us.

 

What an incredible time then to be engaging customers and creating new value in the energy and mobility sectors!

 

Energy, mobility, consumer technology are converging towards each other, interconnecting and forming new models of automated service delivery. Combining physical, distributed assets and optimising them for customers to create reward is complex and a new frontier for everyone involved. The convergence of energy, technology and mobility is without precedent, without incumbents who can claim they are already across those areas at scale and where all previous competitive advantage requires reinvention. From early partnerships across the sector, new competition will open up between participants in energy and mobility over time. Some existing participants in both energy and mobility will be disrupted and lose customers to new companies at scale with the right brand, culture, scale and platform. Competitive success today does not guarantee the right position for tomorrow.

Ultimately this is a race for long-term earned customer ownership so that growing benefits through optimisation is shared between those providing energy and those who use it. This may drive companies into energy Supply and Suppliers to expand their value beyond it, until the two become indistinct from each other.

 

As well as a societal shift, the convergence of energy, technology & mobility is a commercial race

 

Consumer technology has been leading the way in defining how thriving, fast growing businesses move quickly ahead of their competitors. In their devices, applications and interaction people are increasingly making a platform choice that then comes to become the basis of their future choices. Whether Apple, Android, Amazon voice or Netflix – these platforms seek to own an area of our experience over the long term. Convenience combines with innovation to reconfirm the platform choices continually – Apple led the mobile phone experience but did not keep up its innovations in voice and gave market leadership to Amazon followed by Google. In the same way companies such as Creative and iRiver ceded leadership in mobile music devices to Apple, whihc provided a foundation for their subsequent disruption of Nokia and Blackberry in phones. Customer retention on platforms is not a given if the platform does not keep innovating ahead of the customer need.

It is now clear that integrated Software as a Service (SaaS) platform eco-systems are the defining basis of competition in energy and mobility too. Those platforms also need to be agile in anticipating and adapting to continual change and competition.  They will integrate together so that automation extends beyond the boundary of a customer platform into such as vehicle management, asset optimisation and flexibility markets. It will not require customer manual intervenion, so long as they continue to trust the security, privacy and consent underpinning their provider.

Specialist SaaS is integrated together to deliver seamless, automated best practice at scale to provide sector leading customer experiences when creating a new platform. It is agile because the brand is able to deliver customer innovation while the sector specialist SaaS continually introduces new compliance, sector capabilities and data streams. Simple, agile, automated platforms that empower customer innovation continually lead markets. Platforms create data that is unified and aligned to create new competitive insight for use in personalising the customer experience. The key choice of partners, capabilities and roadmaps for platform eco-systems is vital given the long term relationships needed and need to innovate at speed. Too many parts of the platform eco-system will cause fragmentation and complexity, while trying to do everything often overwhelms the developer, lacks sector specific functionality or isn’t compliant.

The new energy-mobility basis of competition users the same platform eco-system model. Whether it is existing energy companies, recent entrants or future global competitors – the discussion and thinking is the same, to differentiate, automate, reward and retain based on ever smarter, beneficial relationships. There is a challenge to reach everyone and support vulnerable customers in a society that becomes ever more digitised over time. In this new era, the scale and complexity demands platform models where the energy Supplier focuses on creating a personalised, rewarding and adaptive customer experience through time. Those who deliver this experience will retain customers of an earned basis and be able to co-invest in an ever smarter, optimised energy capability between the two trusting parties.

 

Companies ready with the right SaaS platform eco-system invested to scale for this moment

 

We focused on creating the SaaS Platform for high scale, smarter energy competition in anticipation of this basis shift. Combining next generation architectures with decades of deep sector experience takes time to develop and scale. We are empowering around a quarter of the UK energy market on our SaaS today and even more in smart metering, but for us that is only a foundation entry point for what comes next.

From smart metering to smart tariffs, from solar on roofs to stored energy, from EV adoption to automated flexibility reward – the opportunity is there to win. Right now, we are engaging confidentially and sensitively with many people about their future energy platform. From assured market entry with brand protection, through platform integration and innovative competition at scale – we are ready to empower your new proposition. Our passion, strategic focus, agility and the deepest sector engagement provides the organisation and culture ready to be the right platform partner for competitive leaders. We do not receive change from the market, we drive it for our customers so that they always lead the sector.

In this blog, we have been writing about the journey of energy and platforms since 2015. We have sought to be open, but now is a time for more direct sharing. We would love to write more here, but we will either be sharing confidential competitive insight of new competitive leaders or informing those trying to follow us. Anyone now trying to build a platform for the old price comparison based model is too late, anyone trying to still deliver their functionality for smart metering is years behind. That’s old news; it is trying to compete in the energy market of today that is replaced over time by a new basis the UK government is committed to realise.

 

From sharing in public, to building platforms together in private – leave no clues for competitors

 

Therefore, we will resist saying too much more here publicly, so that we can share more and empower your business privately. I recently gave a short speech at the Westminster Energy & Transport Forum on the profound shift in energy competition, emerging capabilities and new platforms. This insight is drawn from practical experience and real engagement; providing a basis for our immediate joint exploration of how to form your next competitive energy platform.

We are ready with our insight, platform, engagement and technologies at scale. We deliver the industry complexity across energy (and next mobility) that provides an interoperable, consistent basis for your competitive differentiation. Across UK, USA and Japan we are already there with you and able to meet easily. Wherever you are, we will be with you to unlock the potential of your new competitive advantage in energy as it converges with technology and mobility.

 

While we want to share with you privately, here at our new site we share a growing range of insight for you to use straight away, You’ve found the blog here but also take a look at:

 

–  other articles around the future of energy and its convergence with mobility at https://www.utiligroup.com/energy-insights

–   our twitter where we share our and wider insights at https://twitter.com/utiligroup

–  at our new social media style informal news stream called Buzz at https://utiligroup.com/buzz and

–  the new events page covering our insight forum & where we are across the sector at https://utiligroup.com/energised.

All these links are available if you just move your mouse to the News item in the menu.

 

We are engaging in over fifty workgroups, fora and insight groups across energy, connected homes, low carbon vehicles). Our team monitors and engages extensively in all key industry changes such as smart metering, faster switching, half-hourly settlements and the next supply model. We are also engaged in research, trials and inputting to load control and EV charging through the UK smart metering DCC. Please look through our site, join us at our forum but most importantly let’s get together quickly so that you deliver the next customer benefit at scale.

 

At Utiligroup, we make energy smarter for everyone.
It’s time to deliver the future of energy and mobility as they converge.
Let’s collaborate so that we make future lives smarter for everyone together.

 

We are ready to empower your competitive leadership today. I encourage you to contact me directly at mark.coyle@utiligroup.com for a private, confidential discussion so we can start to realise your ambition in the Net-Zero transition in UK society. I welcome meeting to explore this promptly, wherever you are globally so that you are at the forefront of the next energy shift.

 


 

Mark engages extensively with competitive energy leaders globally to drive new insight and apply this to the platform enablement by Utiligroup and the wider ESG.

 

He gives a key note speech at the Westminster Energy & Transport Forum conference on 6th February 2020:

https://www.westminsterforumprojects.co.uk/conference/Retail-energy-markets-in-the-UK-20

 

and is a panelist at the forthcoming Solar & Storage Live event:

https://www.terrapinn.com/exhibition/solar-storage-live/index.stm

 

Mark is host of our Smarter Energy Insights Forum #5 at British Film Institute on 6th February.

More about our forum and other events at: https://www.utiligroup.com/energised/  

 

 

Mark’s energy market insight feed is at  http://www.twitter.com/markcoyleuk

Email today to explore next generation energy supply via mark.coyle@utiligroup.com

 

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