20 Jan What lies ahead in 2016?
Futurewave stakeholders from inside and outside the energy sector gathered in London on Monday to celebrate the progress made on the project to date and to look forward to what’s in store in 2016.
Guests at the third Futurewave summit heard from a number of speakers and were walked through a full demonstration of the prototype. For many of the stakeholders in the room, the event was the first real opportunity to see how Futurewave has been transformed from a vision into a live, working prototype.
Our thanks goes to all those who attended, as well as to all those who presented. Your positive feedback and individual contributions have helped to re-energise the project as we kick on to phase 3 when we will be tackling some big challenges.
For those stakeholders who were unable to join us on Monday, here are some of the themes that were explored by our panel of speakers:
“Consumers think of domestic energy as a basic service that is supplied to them so perceptions are driven by when something goes wrong. Futurewave is important because it gets into this space and it will help customers to have a better experience when dealing with energy companies. Futurewave is innovative and collaborative, and it’s for these reasons that we at Ofgem are supportive of it and we look forward to seeing what comes from it.”
David Gray, Chairman, Ofgem
“Futurewave is hugely exciting for us as it offers the potential to solve for the fuel poor. If, in the long term, the business does reach its goal of becoming self-sustaining then this will create opportunities for extra funding to be given back to communities. This money can then contribute to addressing the issue of fuel poverty.”
Tony Nixon, Strategy and Innovation Manager, National Grid
“When we started out on this journey in July 2014, we couldn’t say with any certainty what the outcomes might be. Looking at where we are today, it is nothing short of amazing to see the impact that working collaboratively can have. In Futurewave we have a project that has the potential to put consumers in control of their energy needs and earn their trust – this would be a real step forward for the industry.”
Mark Horsley, Chief Executive, Northern Gas Networks
“As with any collaborative project, there were moments initially when there was potential for a clash of cultures but amidst all of that what kept things on track was the desire of all parties to keep customers at the heart of the project. Energy is a fundamental component of people’s quality of life and so – even if we don’t always realise it – Futurewave has the potential to make a significant contribution to social progress in the UK.”
Denise Massey, Managing Director, Energy Innovation Centre
Developing the model
“Futurewave directly responds to the barriers that are preventing householders from taking action to access better energy options. Achieving success will require us to be more than a platform. We need to invest in creating a trusted brand and be prepared to fine-tune and adapt both the product and the business model as it evolves over time.”
Carol Bitter, Senior Director, Head of Commercial Strategy, Fahrenheit 212
Testing the product
“The current prototype brings together all the key functionality and various data sources, with an underlying architecture that can be built upon in the next phase. In 2016, we’ll be working to add a new visual identity by applying the new brand, so that we can then get it ready for roll-out in several pilot locations.
“For us, the pilot stage is a critical point in the platform’s development as it’s an opportunity for customers to validate the assumptions that we’ve based the prototype on. Such an iterative approach to product development is typically seen in start-up businesses; bringing this new mentality and working culture to the energy sector is another way that the project will add value to the industry.”
John White, Managing Director, Radical Company
“The objective for the next 12 months is to systematically work through the product with users plugged in. Following the example of others, such as Airbnb, we’re going to start small and continue to focus on three core principles: firstly, simplicity – we need to make it as easy as possible for users to engage with the platform. Secondly, activation – we don’t just want to educate customers, we want Futurewave to become a portal for them to engage with the industry. Thirdly, collaboration – Futurewave belongs to all of the project partners and it will belong to the customer and installer communities that it attracts too.”
Freddie Tilbrook, Futurewave Project Lead, Energy Innovation Centre