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How utilities deliver enhanced services with hyperAutomated IoT


By Alf Saggese, Chief Revenue Officer at TrustPortal





With so much noise buzzing around GenAI, the much-hyped promise of ‘Internet of things’ or IoT has been pushed quietly into the background. But there’s still a huge opportunity for utility companies to swiftly exploit IoT’s vast potential via many valuable use case scenarios.

 

We’re talking about enabling “smart” IoT devices to connect, collect and share meaningful data, in real-time. This enables utilities to deliver a range of IoT-enabled, pre-emptive and preventative services – while reducing operational risks and costs.

 

But the number one problem in trying to realise IoT’s potential is the ability to immediately understand and react to IoT data insights. Key constraints include integration challenges with multiple old systems and processes, plus difficulties in bringing instant human experience and AI insights into IoT-initiated processes. 

 

For instance, IoT devices like smart meters enable service agents to receive lots of important data. However, the data is typically not well understood, its context is not obvious, or what “next best interactions” are available to address the issue. So, it’s too difficult to make quick decisions and take positive actions.

 

McKinsey advises that fixing the interoperability challenge will triple the returns from IoT.  Fixing this issue is crucial to unlocking the potential of IoT. 

 

Traditional approaches to innovating in these complex environments often include replacing core systems or creating new, bespoke digital services from the ground up, but are hampered by the complexity, cost, time, and staff investment needed.

 

So, how can utilities companies crush these constraints to action huge opportunities?

 

The IoT enablement catalyst 

The good news is advanced hyperAutomation now provides a low-cost, smarter capability that solves these IoT enablement challenges. How?

 

Advanced hyperAutomation is a highly secure, platform-as-a-service that IoT devices can easily connect to. It involves intelligently orchestrating multi-vendor software robots, API mini-robots, AI, and employees: all co-working in real-time via real-time dialogues to perfectly perform every step of any process.

 

It’s a hyper-productive digital workforce delivering high-speed, data-rich, end-to-end processes that enable IoT devices to instantly inter-communicate and securely work with physical and digital systems of all ages, sizes, and complexities – at scale.

 

Advanced HyperAutomation can also easily bring human experience into IoT initiated end-to-end processes, via intelligently automated issue handling. So, when employee involvement is required, handoffs arrive via robot-created, sophisticated, intuitive, digital user interfaces – all in real-time.


Where augmented insights are instantly required within IoT initiated processes, AI or other smart tools are used to escalate with predictive analysis and problem-solving capabilities: all in real-time. Once decisions are made, by people or AI, they can be immediately actioned: without any major changes to existing systems or processes.

 

No coding or integration effort is required by advanced hyperAutomation to augment ways of IoT working across legacy and digital systems: regardless of their complexity. It can be natively integrated to all IoT services including device software, analytics and existing core systems including CRM, BPM, ERP and more.

 

By augmenting and extending the scope of all existing technology investments, ROI is achievable in months: at 10% of the cost of traditional digitisation and automation approaches.

 

HyperAutomated IoT in action

Increasing regulatory compliance is fuelling service improvements across the UK utilities sector. One such service is additional support credit that's available to 'pay as you go smart meter top up' customers. This process is a great candidate for enhancement, as it’s complex and error prone, which can negatively impact financially stretched customers.

 

An innovative UK utility company is enhancing its additional support credit service because it's not only good business - ethically and reputationally, but an absolute necessity compliance wise. Here’s how this is happening, via a newly designed process, with robots and employees co-working in real time to enhance it, step by step.

 

1.     Robot calls an API and full customer account details are revealed.


2.     Robots then interact directly with customer’s smart meter in real-time.


3.     Robots call an API to gain customer's meter balance, then generates a form that reveals current balance, unique prepayment account number and previous top-up records.


4.     Once the agent has this insight, they check if customer is on benefits. They can then be added to a ‘priority services register' to receive extra help.


5.     The additional support credit that's affordable for the customer is calculated and a breakdown of values is presented.


6.     The final 6 steps that involve applying the credit are fully automated - as they typically suffer from human errors and missed steps.

 

The results are compelling: much faster services with zero errors and ‘augmented’ contact centre agents now satisfying customers.

 

Working with the same energy company, we’ve helped their automation team deliver a complex move in and move out processes: from design to go live in only 3 weeks. It's generated £1.4 million of value in just 4 months.


We’ve helped another utility transform a slow, error-prone and complex Home Move and Smart Meter Commissioning processes into higher quality, multi-channel services delivered 60% faster. This took just four weeks.


Advanced hyperAutomation is enabling utilities companies to:

 

  • Join up, multi-channel, customer journeys.

  • Prevent missed opportunities – while delivering the highest quality problem resolution.

  • Deliver 65% faster preventative maintenance, meter readings, updates, orders and more.

  • Reduce engineer visits for smart meter commissioning by 90%.

 

This means everyone wins: the CX teams gain +5 NPS & CSI scores, the CFO gets up to 90% lower operational costs.

 

Final thoughts

Looking forward, using hyperAutomated IoT, utilities companies will deliver more services that facilitate preventative maintenance for customers’ heating and appliances, with IoT devices instantly relaying information about impending issues.

 

Enabling real-time integration to inventory systems will also enable easier part ordering, field service systems for fix scheduling, CRM systems for customer updates and much more.

 

Clearly, the potential for advanced hyperAutomation to better enable smarter IoT services is enormous. A proof of value can now be actioned by utilities’ automation teams in weeks. We think this unique approach is the right option to action right now.

 

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