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vol.4 Opower Japan


vol.4 Opower Japan

  • Country Manger  Mr.Takahiro Kouke
  • Vice President and Managing Director,Asia-Pacific & Japan  Mr.Nadeem Sheikh

We are the leading provider of customer engagement and demand-side management solutions to the $2.2 trillion utility industry. Opower's big data platform is the leading solution worldwide, for utilities to transform their ability to engage their customers.

According to Mr. Nadeem Sheikh, “Opower is a leading company that analyzes and understands customers in the field of energy”. Their Japanese arm Opower Japan provides a big data platform for electricity and gas suppliers. Opower’s technology solutions combine big data with sophisticated analytics and behavioural science methodology to provide insights and engagement.

With Opower’s platform, utility firms then share this insight with their customers. The insights compare personalized data from customers with other similar households, so they can see how they compare, and offers tips on how to reduce their energy consumption.

In anticipation of the impending de-regulation of the Japanese electricity market in 2016, utilities are looking for ways to improve customer relationships and provide deeper engagement/satisfaction to retain customers in a newly competitive market.“Our service is unique in providing hands-on advices for customers based on how they use their appliances at home, in addition to analysis of electricity use at similar households and analysis of local data such as weather. We have invested around 16 billion yen in developing our solution and we continue developing our platform and continue to improve its functions. Implementing our advanced platform will help utility providers improve customer satisfaction and therefore increase customer loyalty for their services”, he said. This solution is intriguing for electricity consumers as they can see at one glance how high or low the electricity consumption is at their household, compared to “an energy-effi cient household in the same area”

“When we communicate the message of saving energy, it is more effective to tell consumers that their neighbors use less electricity than they do, rather than putting up the slogan of ‘Save energy for reducing costs and protecting our environment’. The foundation of our services is the behavioral science approach to understand the mindset behind consumers’s actions in relation to energy consumption”, explained Mr. Takahiro Kouke, Country Manager of Opower Japan. “We motivate consumers to save more energy by letting them know that their neighbors are doing the same, while suggesting fun ways to become more energy-effi cient. We hope a number of utility providers will implement our solution as a method of improving their communications with their consumers.”

True to his words, the platform provided by Opower Japan is gathering attention as a tool to connect utility providers and consumers. In Japan, for instance, electricity companies that have been the only providers of electricity in the country are facing increased competition after the full-fl edged deregulation of the electricity sector in 2016. Japan is going through an interesting time in its energy sector, as the Japanese utility industry will become competitive in 2016, but the actual value for customers is not yet determined.

Opower Japan currently provides services for TEPCO, and plans to encourage other nine electricity companies to introduce their solutions in the future. Meanwhile, they try to expand the customer base to include gas companies as well.

Mr. Kouke also plans to host seminars on customer satisfaction and customer engagement for Japanese companies, capitalizing on the location advantage of Marunouchi. “Through the use of EGG Japan facility, we plan to showcase the benefits of best practice customer engagement, sharing these insights with the Japanese business community, such as the growing global trend of customer personalisation and the new kinds of services appreciated by customers worldwide”, he said.


Entering the Japanese market

The Japanese energy market has one of the most uniquely complex and mature environments in the world. That is why entering the Japanese energy sector is said to be difficult for foreign companies, but this also provides us an advantage of easy access to highly-skilled local talent. In fact, I see that Opower Japan is starting to run well with highly-capable members. We are eager to continue providing useful information for utility providers from here in Marunouchi.

Mr. Nadeem Sheikh

Mr. Nadeem Sheikh

Mr. Sheikh joined Opower in 2010, and now plays an active role as Vice President & Managing Director for Asia Pacific Region. Prior to joining Opower, he led high-profi le projects in resource effi ciency and sustainability at McKinsey & Company, after holding key positions at the German Federal Government, Lufthansa Airlines and other major fi rms. He earned his MBA from the University of California, Berkeley and a BS in Industrial Engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Mr. Takahiro Kouke

Mr. Kouke is Country Manager for Opower Japan since 2014. Prior to joining Opower, he served as Vice President of Japan Operations for Coverity in 2013, Country Manager for Novell K.K. in 2012, and Operating Offi cer for Cisco Systems in 2010, after being engaged in the management of multiple companies. He worked for Japan Digital Equipment (now Hewlett-Packard Japan) after graduating from the Faculty of Letters of Chuo University in 1989.

Opower Japan

Opower partners with 95 utility clients across nine countries, and based in the US.
Their technologies provide support to energy consumption optimization
and other range of services for customers in over 50 million households.

The Japanese branch Opower Japan established in 2013 has been in partnership with Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO).
Via TEPCO’s exclusive customer portal “Denki Kakeibo”, the users can access energy consumption data provided by Opower Japan.

This content is the revised version of extract
which is the appendix of "Nikkei Business Associe" from November issue in 2014.
All rights are reserved.
Photographer:Mika Sasaki
 Writer:Mayumi Asakura

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