I was excited to attend this years Future of Utilities summit earlier this week, as it’s always an event that brings together a really interesting mix of executives and experts from across energy and water. This year’s event was no different. It gave us some speakers that were a little out of the ordinary. I don’t think many of us expected a session on user experience from Ann Summers! I love how we’re now looking outside of the industry and learning from experts in very different fields.
So, what did we learn?
From the opening session right the way through to the closing keynote, the themes were consistent. And possibly not a surprise. Everyone was talking about industry disruption. And how fast emerging technologies such as AI, Robotic Processing Automation (RPA – and no, I’d never heard of it before either) and communication via digital media will really shift the dial in how companies talk to their customers, and deliver their services.
Whilst I’ve long talked about the wave of change that is coming, there was almost a sense of panic. Especially as people talked about the sheer pace of change facing utilities. The technologies available, the way people want their accounts to be serviced and the new entrants to the market are all forcing companies to revolutionise. At a never seen before pace.
New sponsors were showcasing VR and AI technologies that could not only revolutionise customer service for suppliers but also how the networks build the infrastructure of the future. Speakers were discussing how they were taking a step back and reimagining their services from the ground up – ready to deal with new demands from customers.
Whilst this looks a little scary for many, there are lots of exciting opportunities coming through! And one thing is certain. Utilities will look very different in the next few years. Be prepared and keep an open mind. There will be plenty of opportunities for exciting new products and services to emerge .