Meter readings, half-hourly readings, user behaviour… some of the info that a supplier may wish to extract from a smart meter – but, as an energy supplier, are you really getting the most out of your smart meter estate?
Here we explore the capabilities of smart meter technology and how suppliers and consumers can leverage it to gain better performance and user experience.
The challenges of a smart meter estate
For many suppliers, it’s been a race against time to install as many SMETS meters as possible to satisfy the requirements of OFGEM. What this has generated is a colossal number of smart devices installed in homes across the UK, which we’re not necessarily tapping into and getting the most from – in order to benefit both the supplier and the consumer.
Shaun Dodimead, CTO at Gilmond, explains how his team set out to build a technology that enables a supplier to do more with their smart meter estate, “When we began developing our DCC Adaptor, we looked at what technology was already out there.
What we discovered was that most smart meter technology will allow a supplier to connect to the smart meter, via an adaptor. However, there seemed to be limitations on what they could do – either by the provider, the adaptor technology, or by the way the technology was integrated.
For example, usually the technology is pre-determined and will extract from the meter what has been prescribed. This means the supplier is limited to what data and insight they can get from the meter”.
Shaun believes that, not only does this stop a supplier [and consumer] getting the most from a smart meter, but there are some short-term and potentially [very] costly impacts to the supplier, such as simply maintaining the smart estate as well as accessing usage information at a time when the supplier needs it.
Smart meters should play a pivotal role in future smart homes
Consumer attitude is changing and it demands technology to keep up, as the future definitely presents a greener, smarter, more sustainable home setting. The question is how will smart meters operate in the smart home?
“The smart meter shouldn’t be left behind in a smart home, it has to be integrated”, insists Shaun. “This device should be a conduit for a supplier, enabling them to do smart things in an integrated way and the smart meter must therefore be seen as a pivotal part of the future smart home”.
“Suppliers with a long-term view of the future [and future technology] will have one eye on this already. They’ll be thinking about how smart meters can play their part in enabling consumers to generate their own energy, such as electricity and heat, and being able to communicate with the grid.”
With this in mind, we’ve carefully designed a DCC adaptor that digitally enables smart metering into a supplier’s own software estate and IP. It achieves two objectives for energy suppliers. Firstly, it allows the supplier to orchestrate the meter. Via the Gilmond adaptor, a supplier can integrate their own technology to the meter, enabling the meter to communicate to them in the way they wish to be communicated to.
The second thing it achieves is simplicity; by connecting your IP and leveraging your smart meter estate, a supplier can interrogate the data in the way they want to [as opposed to a defined set of criteria that might be predetermined], giving them the opportunity to do more with the insight.
Immediately this can provide the consumer with an improved user experience, whilst longer-term it can support their evolution to a smarter home. This will inevitably help the supplier to sustain a loyal customer base with the end user.
An innovative supplier needs the software infrastructure that supports their vision
The benefit of advanced smart metering technology, such as the Gilmond DCC adaptor, is it accounts for supplier innovation and brings this into play.
“Smart meter technology that isn’t adaptable is a big frustration for forward-thinking energy suppliers”, says Shaun.
“Our adaptors make it easier, less expensive and less onerous for a supplier. This is balanced with enabling more data interrogation, more flexibility and more supplier innovation, giving the supplier the best of both worlds. As the supplier looks to grow and extend its service provision, the smart meter shouldn’t get left behind. It should be the connector to the smart home”.
For energy suppliers looking at innovative ways to improve consumer experience, don’t discount the smart meter and its pivotal role in the future smart home. Instead, make plans to ensure you have the right smart meter technology that will evolve with your business.
If you’d like more information from Gilmond about our software, or for a free demo, please contact us