Opower announces next generation of customer engagement platform, Opower 5.5 Flex

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Opower, has announced major enhancements to its technology platform through the release of Opower 5.5 Flex. Built upon investments made earlier this year, Opower 5.5 Flex enables more than 95 utilities worldwide to meet rising customer expectations.

“We invested significantly in this latest platform release to extend our deep analytic and automation capabilities and to launch an open ecosystem for partners, so that we can deliver even stronger business results for our utility clients,” said Opower CEO Dan Yates. “Our utility partners are focused on improving their customer engagement capabilities, and they need enterprise-class solutions. This mid-year release continues the journey we began in Opower 5: Flex, and adds a new layer of ecosystem extensibility and platform sophistication.”

Opower 5.5 Flex continues the company’s investment along the themes of intelligence, personalisation, and flexibility. New capabilities include patent-pending customer analytics and automation that deliver better personalisation and can scale effortlessly to millions of customers in real-time:

  • Load Curve Archetypes use machine learning to cluster customers based on energy usage patterns. Utilities can create on-the-fly segments to differentiate marketing content to customers based on their load profiles, such as late afternoon peakers or midday users.
  • Non-AMI Disaggregation breaks down household usage into heating, cooling, appliances, hot water heating, and other categories without smart meter infrastructure. These insights are coupled with behavioural science techniques to deliver outbound communications that reduce call center volume, extending the reach of key Opower analytics beyond AMI meters to encompass entire AMI and non-AMI residential service territories at utilities.
  • Visual Segmentation 2.0, the second release of Opower’s Visual Segmentation tool, optimises customer communications and program enrollment in response to behavioural patterns. For instance, through a new automatic enrollment capability, customers who recently moved into a new home or called a utility call center are provided tailored and timely communications to meet their unique needs automatically, without the need for a costly, people-intensive segmentation revision.

Opower’s existing customers are already seeing results from the platform in improved customer experience, reduced call volumes, and better efficiency. “During summer heat waves, our customers in Massachusetts experienced spikes in their electricity usage driven by increased HVAC usage,” said Ed White, National Grid’s vice president of Customer Strategy and Environment. “Through the use of Opower analytics, we were able to provide 85,000 customers with a disaggregated view of their seasonal electricity consumption, giving them the tools to manage their usage during the summer months.” Opower partners with National Grid to run the largest home energy report program in the world to over 1.4 million homes.

In addition to building out new capabilities for utility partners, Opower 5.5 Flex enables an open ecosystem of partner capabilities.  “We spent a considerable portion of our R&D investment in extensibility so that our customers and partners can build on top of and around the Opower 5.5 Flex platform to unlock new benefit streams,” said Alex Kinnier, SVP of Products.

This investment is enabling customers and integration partners to co-invest in new solutions tailored to their customer bases. In collaboration with Emerson Electric, Opower announced OpenStat, a set of APIs to support utility led smart thermostat programs. An open source project, OpenStat introduces a new standard for how thermostat manufacturers, Opower, and utilities can work together to deploy multi-channel thermostat programs.

OpenStat joins a suite of existing Opower APIs that have enabled new partnerships to deliver best in class solutions. Through a highly secure certificate management process administered by Opower using 4096-bit keys, authorised partners, including EnergySavvy and First Fuel can seamlessly integrate with the Opower platform via a set of standardised APIs. Opower clients are utilising the new ecosystem capabilities to serve every customer class in their portfolios. Recent new client deployments take advantage of this and other elements enabled by Opower 5.5 Flex, and the company will highlight examples in the next earnings call.

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