Sector Spotlight: Energy and Resources

The transition to net zero carbon emissions is a major focus for stakeholders across the energy and resources ecosystem. For many, it’s the defining theme of our time. As if tackling this extraordinary challenge wasn’t enough, energy leaders are also facing the forces of digital disruption. Some see the opportunity, and are embracing it. They’re pivoting fast to create digital, customer-centric business models fit for the future. Octopus Energy CTO James Eddison sums up the industry’s dual focus: “There shouldn’t be a trade-off between serving customers and doing the right thing. They should be the same thing.”17 Octopus is able to pursue twin priorities thanks it its homegrown, cloud-based Kraken technology. Insights from the Kraken platform help the firm keep customers’ energy costs down by:

  • providing them with half-hourly pricing updates and personalised, energy-saving advice
  • predicting energy usage patterns to optimise the wholesale prices Octopus pays.

What’s more, Kraken has become a revenue model in itself, with Australian utility firm Origin Energy licencing the technology from Octopus. And there are other suitors in the pipeline.

Digital Goes Global

The shift to digital business models isn’t limited to disruptive start-ups like Octopus. Having played a leading role in the industry for many years, BP is heading in a similar direction, on a global scale. The oil and gas giant is evolving its strategic focus, from “producing resources” to becoming “an integrated energy company focused on delivering solutions for customers.” A key strand of this strategy is to leverage digital technology to “put customers at the heart of what BP does, helping accelerate the global revolution in mobility, (and) redefining the experience of convenience retail.”18

Digital Water?

Much is also being made of how ‘digital water’ can transform customers’ experience of water and wastewater utilities. The International Water Association highlights technology’s potential to improve performance by “extending the life of aging assets, reducing leakages, attacks or other abnormalities in the distribution network, (and) improving water quality monitoring, service levels and reliability of supply…” For example, predictive modelling technology has made Thames Water ten times more effective at identifying flooding and pollution risks from maintenance holes. That’s an incredible achievement, but digitisation of the sector has a long way to go to reap the benefits of augmented intelligence, the cloud and sensor technologies. That future, enabled by intelligent assets and networks, promises much.