Michael Crandell, Founder & CEOAfter two decades as strategy consultants helping other consumer industries deliver new customer value, PlanetEcosystems’ (PEI) Co-Founders V. Rory Jones and Stephen Malloy turned their attention to disrupting and reshaping the utility industry as entrepreneurs. In 2009, Jones and Malloy realized that utility customer’s experience had fallen far behind, yet the potential for technology to transform home management had grown so extensively that it was drawing in non-utility players. In response, they set about creating a SaaS CRM platform that substantively redefines the utility service—and creates a template for the ‘Utility of the Future.’
“Utilities face rising customer expectations, accelerating energy/resource costs, increasing competition from solar and other providers, and complex regulator-mandated energy efficiency programs,” begins Jones. “To weather these changes utilities need a new customer offer that turns unengaged ratepayers into satisfied and loyal customers.” And with this in mind, Jones and Malloy developed PEI’s ‘P-ECOSYS’ utility customer engagement platform.
“Increasingly, consumers need to optimize their utility systems, from washing machines to heating systems, to minimize wasteful spending and capture the benefits of connected devices,” says Jones, “and they can’t do that without the data and reach of the one service provider connected to them all—your local utility.” The P-ECOSYS platform provides utilities with all they need to do this—from connecting any manufacturer’s device, to finding ways to engage customers, to enabling new value-added services like equipment retailing and financing.
“Personalized, highly-valued customer experiences are at the core of the P-ECOSYS proposition,” explains Malloy, “as they set the extent to which customers engage.” One example of how this is achieved is a proprietary algorithm that remotely analyzes each customer’s home, and sets out how that customer’s utility system can be optimized to deliver tens of thousands of dollars in net savings, or to maximize home comfort or minimize carbon footprint for a given budget (critical needs for low-income and green customers, respectively).
Personalized, highly-valued customer experiences are at the core of the P-ECOSYS proposition
“P-ECOSYS brings utilities three key ingredients; a broad set of new functionalities that customers value, a single data set and omni-media communications platform, and a set of already-integrated service providers offering anything from contracting services, to warranty services, to partner retailers, and much more,” says Malloy. “Together, these really put smart grid data to work—projecting meaningful, relevant, and timely messaging to precisely targeted customers.” With P-ECOSYS, customers are equipped by their utility to manage their utility systems using any channel, from any location, at any time, in an unparalleled 360-degree experience—enhancing home/ business-life while significantly reducing spending.
After 5 years of platform development in two test-clients, PEI partnered with industry heavyweights in 2015, including Schneider Electric and others, to sell P-ECOSYS across the utility industry, and has grown to boast over 15 of North America’s major utilities in just two years, and reaching millions of utility customers today.
“We equip our utility clients to block potential entrants— like Apple, Google, Solar City and telecoms players—in the burgeoning home and business Utility System Management market, while greatly expanding their service footprint and revenues—into retailing, home control, security, financing, etc.,” says Jones. “Of course, each utility extends it capabilities in its own way and at its own speed; but we are set to provide them with all they need in just 3 or 4 months— all while avoiding them having to tear into their legacy systems as we simply plug in with a readily deployable, parallel technology and service set,” concludes Jones.