Digital home tech gives customers and rivals upper hand over incumbent utilities

Customers, increasingly armed with in-home digital analytics, are gaining the upper hand in the market for utility services putting conventional utilities under pressure according to findings from a recent report from IT research consultancy CXP Group.

Acquiring new customers and holding onto existing ones are the two top challenge for European utilities the study found. According to the research report Digital Utilities: From Behind the Curve to Innovation nearly three quarters of respondents said acquiring new customers was their greatest challenge with 60 of those polled saying keeping existing customers was their top trial.

For the study, sponsored by CGI and Erst & Young, CXP quizzed utilities in near equal numbers from six regions including UK and Ireland with respondents from France making up 10%.

More than four out of five respondent companies were addressing the digitally empowered customer issue through investment in connected home technology in “a major push to reposition themselves in a much more active role in the day-to-day lives of their customers,” the report said, with almost half believing the technology will be “crucial to differentiating their services from the competition.”

The researchers warned that utilities “will have to work hard to

make their offerings stand out in a market where global tech

and telco brands are already staking a claim. Partnerships

and harnessing the innovation offered by start-ups will be

crucial to success.”