Long Live the Utility: Eneco’s Business Reinvention – Q&A Session

18 Nov

Long Live the Utility: Eneco’s Business Reinvention – Q&A Session

Gaia Gallotti IDC

Gaia Gallotti
Research Manager, IDC Energy Insights EMEA

On October 20th we hosted our first IDC Energy Insights Show & Tell Webinar, featuring two guests from the Eneco Group — Michel Kerkhof, manager strategic partnerships, and Willem Ackermans, advisor to the board of management. Michel and Willem shared Eneco’s company’s business reinvention. Eneco anticipated industry challenges, redefined its mission, and embarked on a profound company transformation, which made sustainability, customers, and innovation the central focus of its business strategy. In the webinar, Michel and Willem highlighted the pillars of this journey and described the successful launch of Toon (Eneco’s smart thermostat and smart home platform), the business value delivered, and lessons learned.

Due to the 30 mins. time constraints of the webinar, we were not able to address all the questions we received from our live audience. So, with the support of Michel and Willem, we have captured the questions and answers that were not addressed in the webinar live Q&A session here below.

One of the live attendees was interested in how Eneco learned what its customers wanted, and if the company had run customer research programs. Eneco replies that it undertook an enormous decade-long effort of trial and error, as innovation is very hard work. Additionally, Eneco currently also leverages it’s Eneco-Toon Forum to have continuous input from for both users and non-users.

There were multiple questions that came in specifically regarding Eneco’s smart thermostat Toon, and the related smart plug. In response to their questions, Eneco highlighted that Toon sits somewhere in between a white label product and a single brand product. Toon is offered as a co-branded smart thermostat to utilities (“Toon by…”). A smart plug is not included in the Toon price. To work with Toon, a smart plug needs to be an Eneco white labeled product. The list of Eneco white labeled products is rapidly growing, and at the moment the Fibaro Plug (Z-WAVE) works with Toon. So, the hardware is not Eneco’s own.

A live attendee was interested in understanding if there is a proposition similar to Toon, but targeting Small and Medium Enterprises. Eneco revealed that, indeed, in Eneco’s home market the Netherlands, it offers “Gebouwmanager” for SMEs.

There were also a couple questions aimed at the future of Eneco and its Toon, specifically how Eneco is preparing to integrate dynamic pricing, and if Eneco plans to evolve its business model to be more service-based. Of course, as these are forward thinking questions, our guests were able to reveal a glimpse of Eneco’s direction. Regarding dynamic pricing, Eneco, of course, recognizes related opportunities, but the specific impact needs to be investigated and discovered. Regarding a service-based business, Eneco is certainly exploring this area, but it’s still too early to be discussing their ideas.

In conclusion, we would like to take this opportunity to thank, once more, Eneco for their support in making our first (of many) IDC Energy Insights Show and Tell Webinar a success. Also, make sure you join us for our next IDC Energy Insights Show & Tell Webinar to learn how EDP Distribuição Cyber Security strategy has evolved to cope with the inherent cyber challenges of the evolving digitalization process, and to anticipate and leverage the upcoming European regulatory frameworks for Cyber Security (NIS Directive) and Data Protection (GDPR).

If you want to learn more about European Utilities IT and Operational Technologies, please contact Gaia Gallotti.

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