One of the biggest challenges and problems in the engagement domain is how you actually measure engagement and the impact to the actual consumption, because human behavior is something intangible. So we had to provide some way, we had to innovate in order to create a data-driven technology to measure the actual behavioral change and to see human engagement going on. What we did was to create a unique data analytics platform: a combination of a dashboard, a learning management system (full of content, adaptation, recommenders, etc) and a mobile app that can act as an information and educational gateway in between the cloud platform and the humans. As we all know, smart phones can be considered as your digital extension to your behavior.
So what we did was to approach the engagement problem from a human perspective and not from a utility perspective. Right now, the definition of engagement is it's something the utilities want. Utilities want that because they just set up smart meters, so as soon as they understand the value of data and what lies beneath, they go and search for an optimized engagement mechanism to engage their customers. On the other side, we go in and approach the engagement problem from the customer's side and not from the utility's side.
Now, if the whole experience is gamified (over sub-liminal learning, cross-correlated with real energy disaggregated data) you can get some great results. Gamification is not only about the way or method you follow but is also about what you show and how: if you show only a curve, maybe this is not well understood...if you show the curve together with some overlapped information about the DR events, the content sent, the knowledge actions, your grades, your response and the peer comparison, this will help the human brain elaborate better the action and re-action, hence the human will better understand the result of his action.
Overlapping infographics and the visualization of the so called: "interactive effects" has great potential for behavioral change
In the utility space, right now, there is a big change, there is a big transformation going on. Because utilities are searching for new ways to engage people. So what we are proposing to utilities is to create live digital customer communities. Community management in general is something really strong. Imagine that the utility's objective is not just to send a monthly utility bill and that's all. They have to educate their customers, they have to make them believe that they are next to them all the time, they are educating them about energy efficiency. At the same time they need to focus on some other social and community-based areas, let's say recycling, volunteer management, etc
This is extremely important for the utility. What we want to do for the utility is to help them transform themselves to a social university about energy efficiency and sustainability. We want to help them transform into entities that can manage communities. By doing that, they will of course enhance their communication with the customer, and they will become more social entities rather than the financial entities that they are now. In short, it's a transformation from being a financial entity to a social entity.