From utility pole placement requests to calling for faster Internet speeds, consumers are a powerful influence in driving growth within the utility and communications industries. As consumers’ needs expand and change, these industries must respond in kind to remain relevant and competitive. Today’s energy consumers have some specific demands in mind, with the following three priorities dominating their expectations:
1) Broadband Options Outside of Major Metro Areas
Many consumers feel limited to their broadband or TV provider because of the area they live in. According to SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son, “37% of Americans have only two wired broadband providers, 28% have just one and 2% have no wired broadband ISPs at all.”
Most providers choose areas based on population, income and past data. Residents of rural areas are beginning to speak out about lack of options. Changing times require tech friendliness on every block, street or dirt road. These complaints call for a change in availability and choices.
2) Concerns for Privacy and Cyber Safety
As utilities digitalize the electric grid to meet the needs of every American, we run the risk of decreasing cyber safety. Concerns for privacy are on the rise, as technology increasingly infringes on privacy. Consumers are demanding to know why the thesaurus app on their smartphone needs permission to view their photos or how secure their home Wi-Fi is from hackers – as well as their neighbors?
Concerns like these are demanding utility providers to ensure safety and protection for every individual consumer as digitalization sweeps the nation.
Younger generations are interested in flashy, innovative changes -- and not necessarily the type you may expect. The desire for energy efficient technology is down, as only 19% of consumers participate in energy-saving programs in their home. However, innovations like smart lighting poles that function in a city center are trending. A new residential and commercial development in Denver called Peña Station NEXT features street light poles that provide public Wi-Fi. Soon, those same smart poles will feature air quality control, parking assistance around the center and more.
Read more about creative, cutting-edge innovations – and future predictions – for the utility and joint use industries in our E-book Joint Use Asset Management for the 21st Century.