Utilities: Your coming CoLo SoMoLo world and how to adapt (it's important!)



Quick Take:  Metering International is out with an article documenting the migration of smart meters into the smartphone era. It is a good excuse to remind you how quickly the world is changing. And how quickly utilities must adapt lest they be left behind by more nimble energy competitors.


It was only a few days ago that I brought you a guest editorial warning that utilities' monopoly days may be over due to the entrance of innovative, entrepreneurial companies who want to supply energy services to the world. If utilities hope to compete in that world, they must adapt to consumers' changing expectations. - Jesse Berst


Consumers in the developed world increasingly live in a CoLo SoMoLo world. They expect the companies they buy from to adapt to that world. Most companies are doing just that. Sadly, many electric power utilities are slow to recognize and react to this important change.


If we look out a few years, we can see that most consumers will be living in a CoLo SoMoLo world. In this scenario, everything - every device - is connected and geo-located. Of those connected and located devices, many of them will be social, mobile and localized.

·      COnnected. By now, everyone has heard of the Internet of Things. Eventually, virtually every device of any consequence - even light bulbs - will be connected to a local network and, thereby, to the larger Internet.

·      LOcated. All of those connected devices will also broadcast their geolocation.


Those two factors will be nearly universal. But many devices will also share one or more of these three characteristics:

·      SOcial. Many devices will report to (or receive from) social networks.

·      MObile. Many devices will be mobile. Smart phones are an obvious example, but more and more people are turning to wearable devices. And more and more vehicles are being equipped with trackers, sensors and receivers that follow them around.

·      LOcal. Some devices will also react to local conditions. A tablet computer for a field worker, for instance, might already know about local weather conditions and about the parameters of an outage and about which roadways are blocked due to falling trees from a windstorm.


The lesson for utilities? They must rethink and remake their offerings to fit into that world. The things they supply to customers. And the tools they supply to their workers.


Jesse Berst is the founder and Chief Analyst of SGN and Chairman of the Smart Cities Council, an industry coalition.


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