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Customers Need Utilities to Embrace Technology

Posted by David Hinds

Utilities lighting You’re out at dinner and someone proposes an interesting question about an unfamiliar topic, and then everyone goes around voicing their best guess or thoughts. Only that doesn’t happen anymore. Everyone just looks around for a moment, some shrugs are exchanged and then one or two people whip out their smartphone and Google away. Boom. A world of knowledge is revealed with a couple taps.

And while that might not bode well for conversation, that ability to have the world in our pocket is amazing, frankly. But it’s also becoming expected in this modern age. All of us, young and old, are more and more reliant than ever on technology to solve all our problems. And technology is raising our expectations of the services and products companies are expected to offer. Smart TVs, smart watches, all smart everything. Digital “Swiss army knives” aimed at saving you energy, time and money.

And your home is one of the latest frontiers.

As time goes on and technology is advancing, utility companies are diversifying and evolving how they produce energy to power our lives. And the smart ones are empowering their customers by giving them tools and resources to get smart about their personal energy usage.

But most utilities companies have yet to fully embrace the latest technological tools on the market today that can improve a customer’s home efficiency without breaking a sweat or getting their hands dirty.

Here are just a few products and/or applications that can make your home smarter and make you feel all tech-savvy even if you aren’t.

  1. Nest thermostat – A thermostat that learns your heating/cooling schedule and habits home characteristics and optimizes accordingly, keeping you comfortable and saving you money.
  2. Apple HomeKit – An IOS 10 app that allows you to control and create settings for everything from light bulbs and thermostats to door locks and security systems through your iPhone using your thumbs or talking to Siri.
  3. iHome iSP5 SmartPlug – A WiFi enabled smart plug that allows you to manage your home wirelessly by turning on/off things like lights, fans, audio systems, etc. either through your smartphone or connect it with a variety of other smart home applications to manage it all without input needed.
  4. Philips Hue White - A programmable LED smart bulb that is actually affordable and can be integrated with practically every smart home solution on the market. Oh yeah and it lasts for 23 years.

A utility company that shows a committment to education on technology and services that are on par with other industries tells customers that they’re invested in them and that they are a modernized, well run service provider.

The truth is, some of these smart home products are not necessarily cheap, but they are all viable options for a lot of homeowners and pay for themselves within a year or two at most. And what’s great about products like this, is they allow people to view their homes as a cohesive connected system. A house that shares information, learns behaviors and works to maximize efficiency. That sounds like some far-flung idea from the future, but it’s already here.

We just need to start talking about it.

(To learn more about VI's Marketing Services, click here)

Utilities Marketing Strategy
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