Utility Week

Utility Week 16th June 2017

Utility Week - authoritative, impartial and essential reading for senior people within utilities, regulators and government

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UTILITY WEEK | 16TH - 22ND JUNE 2017 | 21 Finance & Investment Market view I n today's ever-changing, fast-moving utilities sector, telecoms services are play- ing a growing and increasingly important role. The rapid uptake of smart meters and the expanding horizons of the Internet of Things (IoT) are affecting the ways custom- ers, suppliers and network operators think and act. It is a connected industry driven by technological advances, and it shows no sign of slowing. However, with this brave new world come new challenges. Not least the need to have the right telecoms systems to support these advances in technology. And there is a grow- ing risk of incurring extra and unnecessary costs through adopting the wrong tech- nologies and not managing the processes of change. This is why it is vital to take steps to be in control, through the correct management of interlinked services, charges and internal records. Failure to properly put in place the right strategies to ensure your organisation's telecoms needs are being met and run as efficiently as possible can prove a costly business. So too is not understanding the some- times complex billing data that comes with the ever-growing number of services utility companies need to operate successfully. The increased use of smart metering devices is just one way that the march of technological progress has made telecoms an even more integral part of the way utility businesses operate. The more con- nected devices you have, the more data you have coming into your organisation. You need to ensure you have the systems and infrastructure and net- work that can cope with this growth and is able to expand even further. Future-proofing as best as you can also has to be at the fore- front of smart decision making. However, as the organisation looks to replace outdated systems and install new ones, the challenge is to both understand and to fully manage the costs associated with the process. As in all areas of business, it is about cre- ating a network that is as efficient as possible while keeping those costs as low as possible. Central to this is having the knowledge about where costly errors can occur and forensically analysing all the billing data you receive. That is not as simple as it sounds. Most organisations have more than one supplier depending on the type of tel- ecoms service – whether that be mobile, voice or data. Having this approach means you can shop around for the best service for you. However, it also means that not all the information you need can be found on a single bill. One product may be linked with another, but they may also come on different bills. Businesses and organisations need to be aware of these links and the complexities of the billing process. It is about questioning these interlinked services. Are they the right ones for the business? Are they delivering what they say? Are they cost effective? And are they actually needed? Switching suppliers can also lead to errors, which may not show up on the bill. Are the charges correct? Are you paying the right price for the product you are receiving? Not all the answers to the questions you need to pose may be on the bill. Further delving and analysis may be needed. And throughout it all there has to be a continual process of challenge, management and validation. It also means keeping aware of what is happening in the telecoms sector and its ever-changing landscape. With knowledge comes the confidence that the strategy you have in place is the right one for your organi- sation and that you are on top of the issues of cost and efficiencies. Adam Metcalfe, manager of telecoms analysis, PCMG Telecoms: costs and rewards It is important to understand and manage the costs associated with changing processes and systems in order to get the most out of your telecoms systems, says Adam Metcalfe. "Future-proofing as best as you can also has to be at the forefront of smart decision making." QUARTERLY DOMESTIC INSTALLATION ACTIVITY FOR LARGE ENERGY SUPPLIERS All smart meters Electricity smart meters Gas smart meters 1,250 0 Quarterly smart meter installation (000s) Q3 Q4 Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Q1 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 Marks the inclusion of additional large suppliers to the series Source: BEIS 6.01m 3.46m 2.55m

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