Apogee Newsletter February 2021

February 22, 2021 | Newsletter

Video and Personalization – The Power Couple

Love is in the air! Currently, Personalization and use of Video to convey information are the two fastest growing trends in the marketing and advertising world across most every industry. This year, cupid has struck, and we are seeing the incredible effectiveness of combining these two powerful techniques to better connect utilities with their customers

Last year was a bit like a box of chocolates, nobody expected what we got. The pandemic caused disruptions in customer’s lives and made it more important than ever for utilities to show their customers some love.

Video – The Perfect Match

In 2015, Apogee embarked on establishing Video as a new method for conveying information to customers believing it would dramatically improve messaging effectiveness. Knowing that in this fast-paced world, people are less likely to stop and read, but interesting, attractive, Videos containing information relevant to that person not only grab attention but also open a two-way connection with customers. Over the years, seeing it grow and evolve to new purposes, it is now well established and revered for building trust and enabling digital dialogue.

Video was happy at how well it was being received, and appreciated all the attention, but having been single, even with all the “likes” it got, didn’t make it feel complete.

Personalization – You Complete Me

Meanwhile, Personalization was out there not really feeling like it had a true partner. Many partners claimed to love it for its ability to grab attention and convey information but Personalization still felt unfulfilled. Along came Video. The second they started working together, it was love at first sight and sparks immediately flew.

Video and Personalization combined are delivering value for utilities across the country as only a real power couple can do— each doing their part and finding the future together limitless.

The greatest obstacle utilities have encountered with marrying video with personalization was lacking the data architecture and doing the third-party data integration necessary.

While these are challenges, Apogee has overcome them and perfected a production path for utilities to easily engage personally with each customer, making the elusive goal of direct, one-to-one, two-way, video-enabled communication a reality.

As they started appearing together in Apogee’s Personalized Video Messaging, they turned heads everywhere. It’s been hard to decipher which of the extraordinary engagement statistics resulted from use of Video and which were attributable to Personalization, but the combination produced numbers that are making utility and customer hearts race.

Meet Apogee’s New Vice President of Sales, Nils Frenkel

My background includes a combination of sales, consulting, software, and strategy. I started out selling for a small software company in Germany where I learned the basics. That was followed by almost 10 years at Frost & Sullivan, where I led various business development teams in Europe, Asia, and North America and supported companies with their efforts to be successful in the market. The last 6 years were with Guidehouse (formerly Navigant), where I led business development efforts for topics such as DER, Decarbonization, Mobility, Smart Cities, and Smart Homes.

Being new, what is your favorite aspect of Apogee?

Three things come to mind. First is the team. There is a remarkable team spirit of cooperation and so much expertise that I feel blessed to be working with everyone. Then we have great customers. On my second day, I had the opportunity to speak with customers and, it’s great engaging with them, hearing their goals, and feeling their enthusiasm for what we provide. Finally, the solution. It’s exciting to see how our innovative technology is playing an important role in achieving cost and carbon savings for so many utilities as well as their customers.

I have seen a little face appear on video calls. Tell us about your family.

My wife and I will be celebrating our 21st wedding anniversary later this year. We have 4 children with ages ranging from 19 to 8. My oldest started a 2-year missionary service after graduating from High School last year. Then I have a Junior in high school and a 12-year-old in middle school. The little face that shows up on calls occasionally is my 3rd grade daughter who is usually looking for help with her virtual schoolwork.

Having lived abroad, where is your favorite place to live?

That’s a tough one as there are cherished memories for each of them. The last 10 years in the US have been great, and I enjoy the friendliness of the people here. Living in Singapore was a lot of fun, and we could visit many close-by dream vacation destinations in Asia. And Germany is still kind of home as I grew up there and the rest of my family still lives there.

Using Artificial Intelligence in Rate Selection

Sydney Roberts, PhD, Apogee Interactive

Rates are a hot topic for utilities, regulators, and consumers, with utilities testing multiple strategies to better align revenue with costs and to guide consumer behavior. As you might guess, some strategies have worked better than others.

At the AESP 31st Annual Conference in January 2021, Jordan Folks from Opinion Dynamics and Sydney G. Roberts from Apogee Interactive, brought data-driven insights to this discussion in their session, AMI- Enabled Rate Structures.

Making Smart Grid Relevant to the Mainstream

Presented by:
Chris King Sr VP – eMobility Siemens

Joel Gilbert, Chief Software Architect – Apogee

COVID 19 has made us acutely aware of a “digital divide” that disabled distance learning for many. This is just one more example of the challenges we face in our energy and carbon reduction transitions. Please join us to hear Chris King, SVP and Joel Gilbert discuss why personalized customer engagement is going to be critical to our widespread adoption of electric vehicles.

Get a Handle on Auxiliary Heat

It’s not your imagination; this winter is actually colder than last in many parts of North America. Here in Atlanta, December and January were 27% colder than the previous winter measured in heating degree days. As we know, this has real impacts on customer comfort and heating costs, as well as utility load profiles. Apogee is hearing reports of increasing high bill complaints, and we offer a few suggestions for assistance.

Many residential customers have installed smart thermostats, including those purchased through utility programs and marketplaces. These thermostats, especially with wi-fi connectivity, can assist occupants in saving energy and money while maintaining comfort through various strategies. Several of these require that the occupants proactively program or manage their thermostat settings.

For those with heat pumps with electric resistance auxiliary heat, the use of auxiliary heat is extremely energy intensive for the residents and creates a large load for the utility. It is best to avoid using this heating option. While this is common knowledge among energy experts, it is not necessarily obvious to your customers. Further, the controls for auxiliary and emergency heat are not as easy to access as they were on old school thermostats.

Many smart thermostats have a setting called Adaptive Recovery or Smart Recovery. With adaptive recovery turned on, the thermostat will preemptively control the HVAC system to meet the schedule set points based on how the home responds to the weather. It is important that customers turn adaptive recovery or similar modes ON to optimize their home performance.

As an Apogee partner, we can assist you in messaging your customers with timely and impactful suggestions for maximizing the benefits of their thermostat technologies. For instance, a video message targeted at customers with electric heating can highlight this issue and, hopefully, head off high bill calls. Similarly, email and SMS (text) messaging sent to customers when the condition is observed, before the high bill arrives, demonstrates that you are looking out for them and that you care.

Contact Apogee to discuss solutions.

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