As the energy and utilities sector embraces new technology and digitises often outdated processes, more and more are switching to custom app development.

Mobile apps can help bridge the gap between you and your customers, allowing them to access vital information about their usage, impact, and bills. For organisations, it can save time and increase brand loyalty.

However, developing the right software comes with its challenges. Below, the Zudu team has put together some considerations to ensure your app has an impact.


Leverage smart technology

The rise of smart technology and the Internet of Things (IoT) offers many opportunities for energy and utility apps. These technologies can offer more precise control and monitoring capabilities. Perhaps the most obvious is smart meter integration.

Globally, there are now more than 1.06 billion smart meters (electricity, water and gas) installed. That figure is only set to grow with the UK government continuing its technology rollout here.

New targets mean smart meters will need to be installed in at least 74.5% of homes and nearly 69% of small businesses by the end of 2025. The program is set to cost more than £13.5 billion between 2013 and 2034 and provide £19.5 billion of benefits over the same period.

Integrating your app with smart meters can provide users with real-time data on their energy consumption, allowing for more proactive energy management. It’s also worth supporting other IoT devices, such as smart thermostats and appliances, to give users comprehensive control over their energy environment.

The good news? Technology giants such as Apple and Google recently agreed to a cross-platform approach to smart technology under Project Matter, so it should be possible to develop an Android and iOS app that supports smart tech.


Put user-experience first

There’s no denying that, for most consumers, energy and utilities are boring and complex. That’s why it’s even more important than usual to develop software that puts the user experience first. Your users need to be able to easily understand their energy consumption patterns, bills, and savings.

Work with your developer on intuitive design principles and visual aids such as graphs and charts to make complex data more digestible. Take a look at Octopus Energy, for example, one of the UK’s largest energy companies. They’ve grown at speed in recent years thanks to their customer-led approach to energy bills, and their website and mobile app offer a raft of information to empower users over consumption.

Your energy and utilities app should offer seamless functionality for essential services like bill payments, service requests, and outage reporting. Minimising the steps required to complete important actions can also enhance user satisfaction and engagement.


Analytics count

Offering access to advanced analytics like energy use at the time of day and estimated costs can reduce customer frustration and help them make better decisions for their wallets and the environment. Integrating predictive analytics, for example, can help users anticipate their energy usage patterns and costs, allowing them to adjust their behaviour to save energy and reduce bills.

Utilising data analytics to provide personalised recommendations can significantly enhance user engagement. For instance, suggesting energy-saving tips based on a user’s consumption patterns can make the app more valuable to customers.


Think about sustainability

Today’s consumers care more about their environmental impact than ever before. Perhaps in part fueled by the rising cost of living and increase in energy bills, three-quarters of Britons (73%) say they have cut back on the amount they are using electric or gas devices at home.

Apps that help users manage their energy consumption and educate them on sustainable practices will stand out in the market. It’s easy to incorporate features that track and display sustainability metrics, such as carbon footprint and energy efficiency, which can help users understand the environmental impact of their actions. You could even partner with an organisation such as Ecologi to allow customers and businesses to offset their emissions.

Your app could also become a hub for educational content on renewable energy sources, energy-saving tips, and the environmental benefits of reducing energy consumption. The right material could empower users to make more sustainable choices in the long term.


Understand regulations

Finally, it’s worth noting that the energy and utilities sector is heavily regulated, with strict rules governing data privacy and service provision. When developing an app, the regulatory environment should always be considered, and whether you’re a reseller or wholesaler, it’s important to follow Ofgem’s Industry codes and standards as well as regulations such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Your app must ensure the highest data encryption standards and user consent protocols—if data enters into the wrong hands, your app could be a disaster before it’s even off the ground and damage your brand reputation.


Wrapping up

Developing and launching a custom app for your energy and utilities businesses is a challenging but rewarding endeavour. Make sure you work with a company that puts a focus on user experience, incorporates advanced analytics, leverages smart technology, and focuses on sustainability and education, and you’ll be onto a winner. Reach out to the team at Zudu today if you’re looking for support developing a custom app for your business.

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