I went to a Skookum Tech Talk and learned how Duke Energy is staying on top of all things tech – and what that means for your energy services

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(Note: This content was co-created with Skookum

The event

Skookum Tech Talks are free monthly events held at B2B digital strategy, design and development firm, Skookum, located on the 15th floor of 201 S. Tryon St. To the core, they’re a casual and interesting way to connect leading minds and technology innovators with Charlotteans ready to learn. Expect these talks to last about an hour and include a free (pizza) lunch.

[Agenda related story: I went to a Skookum Tech Talk and learned about biohacking the brain – the experience and 4 takeaways]

Innovation in energy from Duke Energy

I recently attended a Tech Talk about innovation in energy from Jessica Hamm, Emerging Technology & Strategy Manager and John Mitchell, Director, Analytics and Mobility Centers of Excellence, both from Duke Energy. Jessica is part of the Emerging Technology Office (ETO) that focuses on energy tech, and John’s IDEA lab focuses on digital transformation. 

Adopting new technologies

As the largest electric utility in the country, Duke Energy has to be on top of its game when it comes to technology, and the company has prioritized adapting to the evolving needs of its customers, and rapidly changing technology and policy environments.

The Emerging Technology Office helps by predicting what the next big thing in energy technology will be 3-15 years in the future. Then, the team evaluates the potential risks and benefits of the new technology, including how it’ll affect business, customers and employees.

Jessica’s role on the ETO is to strategize and communicate how to best consider these new technologies. It’s important that customers, employees, and stakeholders are on board and excited about a product, and that requires clear understanding and communication around how it’ll add value to their lives.

Silicon Valley is a state of mind

For an industry that is focused on finding ways to improve customer service, it’s important for Duke Energy to focus on creating tools to help its customers, specifically through mobile apps. This is one problem that John’s IDEA lab has been tasked with solving.

The team recognizes that software is key to making processes more seamless (and therefore easier for customers), so they’ve created new tools to improve customer service instead of simply hiring new representatives.

The philosophy  that “Silicon Valley is a state of mind” has been essential to this team leading the field in technology and talent.

My takeaways

1. As Duke Energy tries to figure out its place in the future of energy, the company is focused on creating greater value for customers through a 5-part, long-term strategy: transform the customer experience, modernize the power grid, generate cleaner energy, expand natural gas infrastructure, and engage employees and stakeholders.

2. Because we live in a world that’s defined by ever-changing digital technology, companies need to be agile and adaptable. Customers deserve amazing software, which is why Duke Energy focuses on creating beautiful, fast and secure software.

3. Duke Energy is putting a lot of work into finding the next big thing in energy to improve the service that their 25 million customers receive. They have their eyes on 30+ emerging technology categories, including things like connected devices, distributed grid intelligence, and advanced combustion technology to make their services more environmentally friendly.

4. In our everyday lives, we should strive to be innovators rather than fast followers.

Want to stop by the next Skookum Tech Talk?

Check out Skookum’s full event calendar for all future talks and happenings or follow them on Twitter @Skookum.

Photo by Laura Sumrak

Cover photo by Meghan Cavin.
(Note: This content was co-created with Skookum

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