In our Energy Network of Things video series, my co-founder Brad Witter explores where the rubber meets the road for our customers by taking a phased approached to deployment. Often, we work with customers that have lots of assets, lots of “Energy Things™” and they can be spread out over various buildings in a campus or across different geographies or countries. Trying to tackle everything at once can feel overwhelming or risky. But getting started is as easy as breaking deployments down into a phased approach and unlocking the value toward an ROI that allows a customer to start their next deployment or project with Blue Pillar.
When working with a new customer, we like to break the process of planning and integration into five simple steps:
Phase I: “I have a problem”. First, our customer establishes a set of assets to be connected to unlock a value stream. This initial project can range from a single building to several sites based on the size and deployment scope. Our customer can then determine what value propositions they want to unlock, such as emergency preparedness and response, energy management, or DER integration for the purposes of a microgrid or DERMs enablement. From there, Blue Pillar completes a work schedule to roll out the project on-time and on-budget, giving our customers exactly what they expected.
Phase II: Where else can we take this? Once “Energy Things” are connected and data is being provided in real-time through our platform or OpenAPI to a third-party software provider, our customers are armed with the knowledge of their current state. Now they can understand the value of Blue Pillar’s platform once it’s in operation and extend it to other buildings that could benefit from harnessing similar value streams.
Phase III: Thinking outside the box. Once assets are connected and data is visualized, customers are learning a lot and finally able to measure and verify the results of their energy management programs. Inevitably, they begin finding adjacent value streams that could be unlocked, measured, or verified with Blue Pillar’s platform. During the process, we may have found stranded assets or outdated systems that are not communicating data anymore. These can be good areas to attack and embrace to continue to drive value and ROI from the Blue Pillar system.
Phase IV: “Getting creative.” Now that the customer is applying what Blue Pillar can do in new ways, the sky’s the limit. Additional value can be gained by incorporating other systems and assets into a centralized and accessible network. For example, many of our hospital customers may have started with the emergency power and supply systems to meet compliance and avoid outages. But adding in new assets like meters (water, gas and electric) or new DERs like solar or energy storage are equally compelling. With this, it is possible to think about reducing energy costs, eliminating energy waste and meeting sustainability goals.
Final Phase: "All-In". As all “Energy Things” become connected into a single, ubiquitous network, the business can become more responsive to real-time energy demand, costs and situations and react accordingly. This is the future of energy and by creating the connective tissue, it is now possible to continue to add new value or services offered by your utility or energy provider into the platform. Adding a new capability is as easy as plugging in a new third-party service or application, and data and control from assets are universally applied through our OpenAPI to offer new capabilities. The solution is future-proof and extensible. It is also possible to replace older software or add new things into the Blue Pillar platform automatically, without causing problems or starting over with customized development. Simply add-on to the system over time and continue to drive a history of energy use, measure and verify suitability goals or drive responsive demand management or microgrid projects.