It has been a busy start to the year at Comverge and last week was no exception with the team in San Antonio for DistribuTECH 2012.
As one of the largest events in our industry, DistribuTECH brings together a broad range of stakeholders to discuss the latest and greatest in smart grid developments. For our part, we built on our recent customer announcements with PECO, Gulf Power and Ransome CAT by sharing details on our new IntelliSOURCE solutions that support innovative dynamic pricing programs and streamline energy management program execution.
We also participated in panels on customer engagement and international demand response programs, with the former bringing together executives from PPL Electric Utilities, Con Edison, TXU Energy and Tampa Electric to discuss best practices for engaging the customer. This is one of the most important issues facing the industry and an area where we are seeing excellent results, having just announced that we have enrolled one million customers in demand response programs.
Taking a step back, it’s interesting to see some of the bigger trends that came out of the show. GigaOm’s Katie Fehrenbacher captured them well and I couldn’t agree more with her comment that “managing large streams of energy data is fundamental to the future of the grid”. In fact, that’s exactly why we have invested so much time in our IntelliSOURCE platform, which now manages huge amounts of data for 20 utilities across the nation. Other themes that caught my eye include the shift from hardware to software and the increasing importance being placed on smart thermostats.
Among the other articles on the event, I was interested to read a story from Greentech Media’s Katherine Tweed. Tweed discusses what she saw as a “thread of uncertainty” that ran through this year’s show. Apart from that being the opposite to our experience at the event, the article is interesting as it contrasts the market from in-home displays – Tweed notes their absences from the trade floor – with the growth of distributed automation. As I have discussed before, this no surprise as from our experience with large-scale deployments, consumers actually want utilities to take some control of their energy use if it will mean substantial reductions to their bills.
I could go on as it was a great week with many fascinating conversations, but will leave it there for now. Hope everyone enjoyed DistribuTECH 2012 and as the year unfolds, I expect we will be hearing a lot more about managing big data, software platforms and the growth of distributed automation.