Tuesday, 20 November 2018

We consider the following 5 (five) value propositions (or else business cases) for SOCIALENERGY S/W platform’s commercial exploitation, namely:

Digital user engagement, marketing and gamification platform

In this business case, we focus on the SOCIALENERGY services that the individual energy consumer is experiencing. The electric utility company wants to offer an online S/W platform to its users, through which the latter will be able to monitor their energy consumption, receive useful tips about ways to minimize their electricity bill, purchase beneficial energy programs based on their needs, etc. With this platform, utility aims at engaging its users, apply efficient online marketing policies and offer advanced personalized energy services to the end users. In a nutshell, this value proposition disposes the following features:

  • Focus on the simple user interface (not the admin user).
  • Focus on GSRN-GAME-LCMS and not on RAT & virtual marketplace.
  • The utility just wants to offer this product to all its customers and is not so interested on the admin user interfaces and interaction with other market stakeholders (i.e. virtual marketplace).
  • The energy consumer can continuously monitor his/her ECCs.
  • The user is digitally engaged in the ESP’s operations and can thus understand how s/he can lower his/her electricity bills (LCMS).
  • The user can purchase Energy Programs via the platform and see all the billing information (integration with an online payment system).
  • The user can get advice about energy efficiency via recommendations.
  • The user can also run quick simulations and decide whether it is beneficial to invest on a new EP that better fits his/her updated needs.
  • A gamified experience is offered to the end user.
  • The user can play the GAME and thus be seamlessly educated in energy efficiency goals.
  • The user enjoys a personalized behavioral education program.
  • The admin user (utility) can better manage its customers’ portfolio, reduce churn rate and attract new customers.
  • The utility can apply its digital marketing and advertising via the platform.

Business analysis and intelligence tool for progressive electric utilities

This value proposition focuses on the administrator user’s interface and respective functionalities being offered by SOCIALENERGY S/W platform. More specifically, SOCIALENERGY platform can serve as a business analysis and intelligence tool for the progressive electric utility’s CEO or business analyst, who wants to closely monitor the business process and analyze all ongoing business-related data in an intelligent way towards defining the strategy and policies of the business in the short-, medium- and even longer term future. This process is very important for a utility company/ESP because it wants to understand the behavior of its customers (i.e. end users) in order to keep them happy or extend its customer portfolio. Via the use of RAT subsystem’s intelligence, the admin user is able to run exhaustive “what-if” system-level simulations to examine what is the best business strategy/scenario to adopt. For example, the utility company wants to know if (and how much) more profits can be realized in the case that all users who currently adopt a flat price tariff for their energy consumption, purchase a new Energy Program (EP) such as RTP, Personalized-RTP (P-RTP) or Community-RTP (C-RTP). The next step would be for the ESP to activate its digital marketing strategies towards persuading its customers about the benefits that new EPs incur in order to engage as many as possible. It should be noted that this business case is more applicable in situations where the ESP prefers to do manually offers to its customers and not automated and online services via the platform.    

Complementarily, the SOCIALENERGY platform is able to track the activities of the end users and provide comprehensive business analytics graphs to the administrative user. Subsequently, the admin user is able to generate context-aware recommendations based on the current and personalized needs of each customer. This is important because it can reduce churn rate and address the customers’ needs in an automated and almost real-time fashion. The frequency of sending reporting/recommendation messages to energy consumers in order to keep them highly engaged without annoying/frustrating them is a also a case that can be analyzed and offered as a service to the admin user. 

Administrative tool for virtual energy communities’ (VECs) management

This value proposition focuses on the EC leader user interface, community energy programs and management of the energy resources of a set of consumers. From the utility company’s/ESP’s perspective, it is important to organize users in groups and facilitate bottom-up organizational structures and e-governance. The main rationale is to let the end users create experiences for themselves and also actively participate in the design of new services and products according to their continuously changing needs. In the SOCIALENERGY S/W platform, virtual energy communities (VECs) can be created, dynamically adapted and managed by both a company’s employee and an individual EC leader, who wants to create his/her own social network inside the SOCIALENERGY ecosystem.

An EC leader can be just an individual who wants to coordinate the operation of a VEC, a professional user who manages multiple commercial buildings (e.g. supermarkets, hotels, bank offices, retail offices, etc.) or a public authority’s employee (e.g. smart city, university campus, business park, etc.), who also wants to manage the energy consumption and electricity bills of multiple buildings, which belong under the same ownership.

For an ESP, it is important to effectively engage user communities and promote corporate responsibility, trigger and facilitate social innovation, bottom-up organizational structures, etc. It is also important to group the needs of its customer portfolio and thus be able to apply more effective collective e-commerce services with Community Based Social Marketing (CBSM) approaches. Members of a VEC can communicate with each other online and continuously compare their ECCs and other energy efficiency activities. VECs are also allowed to contribute in the design of new or enhanced products/services by giving their opinions (cf. bottom-up structure), while VECs may be exploited as cells within which group trading can be facilitated. Multi-parametric approaches for VECs’ creation can be easily customized within the SOCIALENERGY platform, such that the EC leader can adopt the mostly preferred approach. The utility user can also recommend/introduce new EPs to VECs and tips to its customers by applying clustering and data analytics algorithms, etc. Via these data analytics, the utility can operate more efficiently (i.e. no need to send too many personalized messages, but targeted enough to groups of customers with the same behavior).   

Via the multi-player gameplay, the VEC members can be efficiently educated in C-RTP energy programs and the benefits of forming a VEC from both financial and social points of view. Finally, via the use of LCMS, EC leader can educates the users in good energy efficiency practices for the sake of local community’s goals.

Virtual/Online marketplace for energy efficiency products and services

Regarding this value proposition about the virtual/online marketplace, the proposed business case aspects can be summarized as follows:

  • The utility company wants to understand the needs and communicate better with other energy efficiency sector stakeholders such as electric appliance retailers/vendors, building renovation companies, construction companies, smart home automation/IoT vendors/retailers, etc.
  • The focus is on cross-sales & e-commerce personalization services to realize new revenue streams via strategic collaborations between the utility and various other ESCOs and companies related with energy efficiency sector.
  • The virtual marketplace can host products and services from electric appliance vendors/retailers, building renovation companies, etc., so that the user can have an end-to-end experience on the way to achieve his/her energy efficiency targets.
  • Exploit the deep insight into energy use consumption to engage customers on cross-sell options that fit their needs. 
  • Bridge the gap between energy consumers and multiple other market stakeholders related to the energy efficiency sector. ‘Win-Win’ market situations are realized as all involved actors can benefit from the participation in the virtual marketplace.
  • The utility company can generally sell Energy Information Distribution as a Service (EIDaaS) to whom it may concern in the long-term future (cf. “data monetization” service).
  • Mainly GSRN but also LCMS and GAME are exploited from the ESCO’s perspective. 
  • In the future, individual energy consumers could also ask for offers (e.g. for house renovation/upgrades) and the proposed SOCIALENERGY platform could be the mediator. 

SOCIALENERGY Game application for entertainment, education and social inclusion

This value proposition is aimed towards the energy consumers (i.e. individual end users), or those who are going to interact with SOCIALENERGY game. In fact, the game application as a result of the SOCIALENERGY project can be approached to a number of customer segments regardless whether they are dedicated to a specific domain, genre or a platform. Depending on the final outcome and different commercialization approaches, SOCIALENERGY Game can bring an added value to the users with dedicated attitudes towards energy efficiency and emerge in heavy playing as committed gamers, or as a standalone application on the market place to be exploited separately and be inclusive enough to offer light, casual and social gaming attitudes. 

Thus, we recognize that the value proposition of the SOCIALENERGY Game can involve several gamer mentalities (based on the classification of Kallio et al.) namely: 

  • Committed gamers – those who are deliberately using GSRN and the Game due to being socially attached to the problem. These players want to learn more about the market, play more often and tend to have longer sessions in comparison to an average user.
  • Causal gamers – these are the players who engage in the gaming activities from time to time and not absorb all the attention or interest in the gaming environment. The sole purpose of the SOCIALENERGY game would be occasional entertainment only.
  • Gaming companions or social gamers – types of players who prefer to play together with other individuals for the sake of competition, result comparison, or simply for sociable gaming. For this, certain gamification approaches were adopted and presented to the user in form of leader boards. Simple collaborative gaming is introduced with the use of NPCs, but conceptually the game is designed to support real multi-user interaction in virtual environment and can be introduced during the commercialization stage.

In contrast with the previous 4 value propositions, a reverse approach in the business process is followed. Initially, the end users play the GAME and then, after their engagement in the GAME, they start purchasing all other SOCIALENERGY products and services. Nevertheless, the focus now lies on the Gameplay and how to engage the end users of an electric utility company/ESP or any other household into simulation. Inter-relate gameplay with GSRN-LCMS services is provided in order to incentivize users to purchase more advanced versions of the GAME and enjoy the best platform’s services at the minimum cost. The utility company can also use the GAME as part of its corporate and social responsibility actions towards educating the society on energy efficiency issues and for social inclusion purposes in cooperation with a public authority, educational institute, etc.

Project Latest News

  • 1st technical review meeting

    The 1st technical review meeting takes place at EC premises, Luxembourg, on December 7, 2017
  • SOCIALENERGY 3rd plenary meeting

    The SOCIALENERGY 3rd plenary meeting took place in NUROGAMES premises, Cologne, on September 18-19, 2017
  • SOCIALENERGY 2nd plenary meeting

    The SOCIALENERGY 2nd plenary meeting took place in ICCS premises, Athens, on April 3-4, 2017
  • Social Energy Kick Off

    Social Energy Kick off meeting took place in ICCS premises in Athens.

                                                                            

 The Social Energy project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Framework Programme for Research and Innovation under grant agreement no 731767.