'Opower' Kicks Off New Cloud Based Era For Utility Through 'Flex'
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'Opower' Kicks Off New Cloud Based Era For Utility Through 'Flex'

By CIOReview | Tuesday, March 11, 2014

MIAMI,FL: Cloud based utility industry Opower has launched its fifth generation product called Flex, which is the basic technology of all the company’s products ranging from energy efficiency, customer engagement, demand response, and thermostat management. The latest version of Flex focuses on business intelligence, web extensibility, and message targeting. These additional features will be provided to all 93 customers of Opower in the first half of the year. Big Data search engine named Elasticsearch is used in Flex software that is capable of sorting out the customer base of a firm on the base of location, income, engagement, energy usage.  

“The Opower 5: Flex release was built to deliver more powerful outcomes and solutions for utilities in response to that feedback,” said Dan Yates, Founder and CEO of Opower. Utility firms will be able to further tailor content, design, and functionality to shore up their business objectives using ‘Extensible Web Framework’ of the latest Flex.

They have added ‘Visual Segmentation’ based on the extensive client feedback received by them to enable new customer segments across hundreds of variables that are updated nightly to provide a personalized experience. ‘Customer Intelligence’ was also launched on the base of the utility requests the firm collected for more visibility into program performance and customer behavior. It is a business intelligence service that aggregates customer information from multiple utility systems and third-party sources alongside data on customer interactions with Opower’s digital channels.

Opower puts into use the sciences of behavior, data and computer to bring out interesting insights on the pattern of energy consumption and efficiency. For instance the Public Service of New Hampshire is collaborating with Opower technology via Home Energy Reports.

Here energy consumption pattern of households in an area is accessed via smart meters and sensors to find out ways to improve energy efficiency. It provides clear cut actionable information that match customers’ monthly energy bills, together with custom-made energy efficiency tips usage and distinct household features. The insights will help utilities come up with better and active customer engagement strategy while saving power.

Utilities can take advantage of software to offer distributed solar energy resources to potential customers interested in this alternative power solution.  About half of the cost of getting residential solar panels is the money installers spend on sales and marketing so, in theory, utilities could do better, Yates explained to Martin LaMonica for GreenBiz.com.

"That's the kind of thing where there is a role for utilities because they have both the data and the customer relationship. Utilities are significantly increasing their ability to communicate with their customers and they're beginning to see it as strategic," he added.

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