We are in an era where it is crucial to constantly innovate and find new ways of raising sustainability awareness amongst customers. “Not always an easy task” you would probably say!
For Utilities, OEMs or ESCOs, one of the means to actively engage customers is using trending technologies, solutions and apps.
This is why, in an urge for energy efficiency, Eco-Bot was brought to life!
Your chatbot tool for the “Active Engagement of Consumers Towards Sustainable Energy”.
“Eco-Bot aims to utilise recent advances in chatbot tools and advanced signal processing (i.e. energy disaggregation) using low-resolution smart meter-type data with the goal of changing their behaviour towards energy efficiency. Eco-Bot is a personalised virtual energy assistant to deliver information on itemised (appliance-level) energy usage through a chatbot tool”.
Eco-Bot is a project co-funded by the EU’s Horizon 2020 Research & Innovation programme, implemented in 3 European pilot sites: Spain (1 with DEXMA + 1 with Estabanell Utility) and Germany (SenerCon).
We e-met Pinelopi Spyropoulou from JustaEnergia, Electrical/Energy Engineer in charge of the follow-up of solar PV projects and the creation of energy efficiency proposals for customers of industrial and tertiary sectors.
In this interview, Pinelopi gives us more insights on Eco-Bot’s pilot that DEXMA and JustaEnergia co-led in Spain, and explains how this innovative tool helped the company to improve their customer loyalty and engagement.
DEXMA – Hello Pinelopi, thank you for taking some time to answer our questions. Could you describe your role at JustaEnergía? How is your day-to-day?
PS – Hello DEXMA, my tasks are: follow-up of energy consumption and costs, opportunity detection and creation of energy retrofit proposals. I also conduct measurement and verification analysis of energy and economic savings.
DEXMA – Are you happy with the chatbot’s usability? Is there something you would improve about its use?
PS – I like the chatbot, I would highlight the location ranking according to its electrical consumption. Since it is normalised by its surface, it gives the energy manager more accurate information.
On the other hand, I would like the energy recommendations to be more customised. For instance, if a high HVAC consumption was detected, I would like to receive HVAC recommendations. I would also like to indicate the number of weekly operating days so that consumption anomalies can be detected.
DEXMA – Regarding the segment covered in this pilot, restaurants, which type of energy recommendations are more effective and are easily implemented?
PS – The most effective and easily implementable recommendations are the ones related to refrigeration – keeping fridges away from heat sources, adjusting freezer temperature – as well as recommendations on the use of the microwave oven.
Generally speaking, recommendations about energy behaviour or installation use are the most effective and easy to implement.
DEXMA – Do you save time with Eco-Bot? Which are the functionalities that save you more time? Are the most time-saving functionalities the most useful?
PS – I save a lot of time with the consumption comparison after introducing an energy efficiency event in the chatbot, as I can quickly detect over consumptions. Creating totally customised events and comparing the consumption is very useful.
DEXMA – Which functionalities would you like to expand or complete among the already existing ones?
PS – I would like to see in the chatbot the number of days a week the business is open in order to improve its consumption. I would also like more frequent recommendations suggested by Eco-Bot, as customers receive several recommendations at a time.
DEXMA – How has Covid-19 affected the consumption of Eco-Bot pilot participants?
PS – Consumption has decreased substantially (specially in restaurants without a terrace), as during the last 7 months they have been closed and once they reopened their capacity has been limited.
DEXMA – I assume that during the lockdown period you have been working remotely, what are the challenges for an energy manager when working remotely?
PS – We worked remotely for some months and now we are working from the office. The challenge was that during the lockdown period no technical visits were allowed. However, consumption analysis and anomaly detection was successfully done by using the energy management platform DEXMA Analyse and keeping a proactive communication with the client.
DEXMA – Did you like to participate in the Eco-Bot project? Has the relationship of JustaEnergía with its pilot participant customers improved?
PS – I think that Eco-bot is quite user-friendly and that it has potential, specially the virtual load disaggregation, although I would add more specific loads according to its sector, like ovens, for instance.
Regarding our relationship with our customers, the participation in this project has reinforced JustaEnergia’s commitment with its customers.