Open Smartflex, supporting smart metering with a customer-centric solution

Open Smartflex is a technological ally which is supporting utilities and the evolution of their operational and commercial processes in the new era of smart metering. With a single solution, Open Smartflex aligns customer needs with utility metering, billing, and payment processes to deliver outstanding customer experiences and support revenue growth. Here are four key benefits that utilities are enjoying thanks to Open Smartflex.

Open Smartflex, supporting smart metering with a customer-centric solution

1. Stay ahead of the game in the utility industry

Open Smartflex helps utilities to be more innovative by giving them a better understanding of customer usage patterns. Furthermore, it helps them set up new business processes which harness distributed generation resources, smart homes, and demand response programs to grow revenue and provide a better customer experience.

Open Smartflex also prepares utilities for the future by supporting constant evolution in the face of changing technology, market conditions, and customer needs. The solution facilitates the design of new products and services, reducing time-to-market and simplifying the processes required to offer, deliver, and bill them. Utilities can also set up complex rating structures based on various factors such as customer segmentation, time-slots, seasons, and customer scoring. With a broad range of tools designed to provide flexibility and foster innovation, Open gives utilities the power to secure future revenue streams by embracing change and staying ahead of the market.

2. Provide legendary customer experiences with smart meter data

With Open Smartflex, utilities manage customer information and meter data in one place, which makes it easier to provide end users with detailed information about their usage, subscribed services, and rates. The solution also allows customers to compare themselves with their neighbors and view dashboards that correlate service usage with other information such as temperature and rates.

Open Smartflex enables not only smart metering but also fosters a stronger focus on the customer. In response to generational change, the solution supports traditional channels such as IVR and email, as well as more innovative methods such as chatbots, self-service portals, and mobile applications. By providing these next-generation tools, utilities relate better to millennials, improve customer experience, and reduce customer care costs.

3. Streamline metering processes without sacrificing accuracy

 Open Smartflex facilitates AMI by interacting with head-end systems to collect meter data from smart meters. The main component in this interaction is the Open Smartflex AMI Gateway, which makes it possible to automate traditional processes such as meter reading and service connection/disconnection. These processes are displayed in a graphical workflow which gives utilities a clear view of each element in the model and the status of each activity.

Open Smartflex handles massive meter data, supporting reading intervals as low as 5 minutes to make sure utilities get their most out of their smart meter deployments. The solution manages the collection, validation, estimating, editing, and storage of metering information. The validation step automatically detects abnormal usage patterns and generates orders to review these instances. In the case of missing or invalid readings, the solution estimates the missing values to ensure that the data set is complete and the billing process can proceed without delay. Furthermore, Open Smartflex facilitates both manual and automatic editing of usage records when abnormal values are detected. As soon as the final readings are defined, the solution aggregates those readings and calculates billing determinants.

Many utilities have a Meter Data Management System which handles the above-mentioned activities and then passes the billing determinants to the Customer Information System (CIS). With Open Smartflex, utilities manage their commercial processes in a more efficient and robust model which does away with the MDMS. By choosing a CIS solution which also provides MDMS functionality, utilities avoid the unnecessary duplication of information and complicated inter-system links which can easily lead to errors when working with multiple systems.

4. End-to-end control of billing and payments processes

Open Smartflex provides end-to-end control of billing processes, including charging, billing, and automated analysis. The solution has precise tools to accurately manage complex billing processes including budget billing, net metering, time-of-use programs, and rebates.

By providing automated billing analysis tools and out-of-the-box dashboards, the solution also helps identify billing errors, assuring the quality of the overall billing operation and reducing the number of customer complaints. Open Smartflex also makes it possible for utilities to design a bill format which incorporates relevant customer information like usage statistics and recommendations related to usage patterns.

As for payments, Open Smartflex provides utilities with real-time visibility over revenue processes. The solution gives a complete picture of customer financial behavior through payments history, dashboards and reports. Even when customers miss payments, Open Smartflex is prepared with the tools to create financing plans based on customer service usage and financial behavior.

In conclusion, Open Smartflex helps utilities meet industry requirements in this new era of smart metering without duplicating systems, functionalities or information; but most importantly, it allows utilities to expand and grow without increasingly IT workload. Open Smartflex is a single solution which provides utilities with smarter processes and the tools they need to stay ahead in an industry that is changing every day.

To find out more about the benefits that Open Smartflex offers to your business, request a demo.

(1) Billing determinants are the  measures of consumption used to calculate a customer’s bill.

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