by George Nott

Origin Energy innovation hub to trial first project

Aug 07, 2017
CIOCollaboration SoftwareDigital Transformation

Origin Energy’s O Hub – a colocation space where Origin staff work alongside tech start-ups – has announced its first project.

The home energy solution, the result of a collaboration with California-based tech start-up Bidgely, is about to be trialled with 5,000 customers in Victoria.

The solution uses disaggregation technology to analyse data from an electricity smart meter and other sources to provide an estimated breakdown of a household’s energy use.

Smart meter data is combined with weather data and statistical analysis to present the customer with personalised alerts – covering multiple categories such as heating, cooling, lighting, refrigeration, laundry, cooking, and entertainment – at different points during their billing cycle.

“Until now, it’s been difficult to provide customers with information about what may be contributing to their energy bill, as the technology was costly. Bidgely’s solution is simple, intuitive and just the start of the energy revolution that will change the way customers interact with energy in the home,” said Tony Lucas,Originexecutive general manager, future energy.

“We are really excited to be trialling this new technology with our customers because it will provide them with more information about their energy use than ever before, and this can help them control their energy costs.”

Origin’s O Hub, located at Teamsquare in Bourke Street, in Melbourne’s CBD, is “dedicated to rapidly prototyping, developing and trialling new customer solutions” the company said, the result of a “small, but important” investment.

Eight Origin employees work at the hub full-time, joined by employees from across the business who are seconded to work on specific projects.

“By using a co-working space alongside local start-ups, the intention is to; allow this small but dedicated team to focus 100 per cent on the future by removing them from day-to-day business operations; help Origin to learn faster, be more nimble, and fast track the change in mindset required to thrive in the future energy world; continue to embrace collaboration and innovation by bringing a fresh external perspective to the way we work and solve customer problems; and immerse ourselves in the Melbourne start-up ecosystem – something that we can’t do effectively from our corporate offices,” the company said.

“Projects that are successfully piloted and trialled within the O hub will move into Origin’s retail business and become part of BAU activity once implemented at scale,” the utility added.

The energy company in January announced it was backing the global Free Electrons accelerator, along with eight other utilities.

The accelerator is running workshops in Silicon Valley, Dublin, Lisbon and Singapore, working with 12 start-ups focused on renewables, smart grids, electric vehicles and home energy management.

Origin is also the principal sponsor of ‘cleantech’ innovation space EnergyLab based at UTS in Sydney, and is also establishing a presence in Palo Alto, California to help “facilitate our access to the vibrant Silicon Valley start-up community”.