12 April 2018

When big data goes hand in glove with energy efficiency!

16 billion euros: that’s the size of today’s energy efficiency market. The sector is in the throes of revolution, with data management becoming a strategic issue that guides stakeholders’ strategies.

Three emerging business models

The massive advent of digital platforms is causing upheaval across the whole of the sector’s value chain. Three innovative business models emerge from this, promoted by new stakeholders but not shutting out established operators. First of all, there’s the industrial platform, which sets out to optimize a site’s energy performance, as in the performance contracts offered by Dalkia and Bouygues Energie & Services. Then we have B2C intermediation platforms, online sites for putting private individuals in touch with building professionals. Then last but not least, we find data-driven business, a model based on data generation and analysis.

An example of this last model is Nest, a start-up specializing in connected thermostats, which Google bought for 3 billion dollars in 2014. Or Schneider Electric, who has signed a partnership agreement with Grenoble start-up Verelec to equip the new generation of Verelec radiators with its Wiser control system. Or again, EDF, who has chosen to develop Sowee, an intelligent control station for a house’s connected objects.

What strategy can established stakeholders adopt?

In this market full of promise, which is set to play a major role in the energy transition, the sector’s stakeholders—energy providers, building & public works contractors, equipment suppliers—must adopt the best strategy, find the right business model. With the data giants looming large, they need to consolidate their position and ensure sustained competitiveness. That means one solution: invest, and quickly, either in big data, block chains, or digital platforms. That’s what Saint Gobain has done with Homly You, a pay-for digital service that helps building professionals find projects belonging to private individuals.

But there’s a double challenge waiting for them. On one hand they need to be attractive to the end customer, while on the other they must ward off the Internet giants, who with their IT infrastructures and product solutions (connected objects) have the means to invade the market and drag it downwards, with a consequent risk of Uberization. They also have control over customer relations with the exploitation of massive data. Smart speakers with voice command are a key new lever for prising open new outlets. Energy renovation is an opportunity for them to enter houses and set up camp. A strategic war between these giants—Google, Apple, and Amazon—has already begun with a view to conquering this new El Dorado.

Summarized from the survey conducted by the Precepta-Xerfi institute

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