Driving sustainability with data visualization
The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) tests cutting-edge research in energy efficiency, to find and apply best practices in sustainability.
As their technology partner, we are dedicated to developing creative solutions to energy problems through data, development, and systems integrations.
Measuring campus energy consumption is critical
NREL’s 327-acre South Table Mountain campus in Golden, CO uses a considerable amount of energy to power heating, lighting, air conditioners, cars, and other technology.
Beyond merely collecting their energy usage data, NREL wants building occupants to have the data framework to make adjustments to energy consumption in real-time.
This might be based on a variety of factors such as weather, staff presence, and peak energy usage, as well as the context and motivation, to nimbly react to aberrations in usage.
Having already worked together to great success, NREL contracted DEPT® to develop a visualization framework. Our strong delivery track record, focus on results, and experience with novel data visualization made for an ideal fit.
This allowed NREL to focus on its main objective – advancing energy science and research – while trusting that the look and function of the Intelligent Campus Dashboard would meet its high standards.
Designing the interactive dashboards
We used an iterative, agile process, with regular check-in meetings with NREL’s stakeholders, exploring various design iterations, and making adjustments.
Using the latest VueJS frontend framework, with D3.js libraries, we created extensive and dynamic data models to handle all the current – and hopefully future – meter and building energy data that NREL generates. These data models can now be reused and built out for future work.
Dynamic dashboards, now feeding NREL’s live energy usage data are accessible both at employee workstations and on large touchscreen monitors displayed throughout the campus.
2,200 NREL campus building occupants
Previously, only a handful of NREL building operators and authorized research staff had access to the Intelligent Campus Dashboard. Now all 2,200 NREL campus building occupants have full transparency in accessing live data at their workstations or on the large campus monitors.
This encourages individual energy accountability and empowers users to make adjustments to their energy environment based on that information.
For instance, the transportation group researching demand management might check the electric vehicle charging station area and see that energy is approaching peak usage. This type of information could be useful in making an operational decision to turn off stations momentarily to avoid a billing spike.
Visitors to NREL, including high-level government officials, can view the Intelligent Campus Dashboard on prominent touchscreen monitors throughout the campus to gain an important window into the crucial and holistic work being done there. Researchers can use Intelligent Campus to display data to tell different stories to visitors and stakeholders about their work and secure funding for projects in the future.
Manager Partner, Technology
Creating a link between a Swedish tradition and Ikea
The Swedish furniture giant IKEA aims to provide functional and stylish furniture to everyone around the world. In Sweden, the longest day of the year is often a joyous occasion that is celebrated annually with a feast. IKEA wanted to share this Swedish heritage with its German customers so they launched a campaign called Midsummer. They turned to DEPT® and asked us to help them organize a party and social media strategy around the event.
Special moments create unique memories
This was a two weeks long, intensive campaign which would end with a party that included previous cooperation partners and potential new cooperation partners, bloggers, Instagrammers, and YouTubers alike. The mood was idyllic and local Swedish food and music were on the menu. This was accompanied by relaxed conversations, new acquaintances, and, of course, DIY flower wreaths and matching photo motifs. The event served as a fun occasion to connect with customers online while strengthening the brand’s relationships with their influencers.
IKEA wanted to share this Swedish heritage with its German customers
The #Midsummer campaign was a complete success. Around 40 people came together to celebrate alongside @ikeadeutschland and Midsummer. More than 100 Instagram stories and 20 Instagram images were created, which together generated almost 160,000 impressions. The influencers that were invited shared their enthusiasm for the midsummer party with their social media community and thus acted as IKEA brand ambassadors.
The great vision to establish midsummer in Germany as a kind of tradition, in order to create an occasion to celebrate with friends and family, was successfully showcased through our celebration. Special moments were created that those who attended will remember forever. Every year, IKEA celebrates the Swedish midsummer with various activities. A tangible link was created between the Swedish tradition and the home furnishing retailer as a result of the #MarchMidsummer campaign and the #MarchMidsummer party.
Client Services Director
Gas Networks Ireland
A customer driven strategy
Gas Networks Ireland (GNI) owns, operates, builds and maintains the natural gas network in Ireland. They service the 650,000 customers, both domestic and business, who are connected to their network. In 2016 we delivered an enhanced digital service channel as the initial foundation of their digital strategy. We continue to partner with GNI to roll out and develop their digital strategy.
Defining a new digital platform
Our initial work for GNI included the redesign and redevelopment of the corporate website with a focus on sales and customer service. Our goals included bringing the connection process online, emphasising the safety message, and integrating into GNI’s CRM.
A digital resource that matches user and business needs
Connecting with customers
UX research and activities were key in helping us to identify GNI’s audience and user groups. We defined their requirements, journeys, and how best to present them with useful information and content.
GNI now has a digital resource that matches their user and business needs. Their website focuses on commercial and domestic conversions, is intuitive and informative, and offers straightforward governance and management functionality.
We supported GNI’s customer expansion strategy to increase natural gas conversions. Potential customers can now inform themselves about the benefits of gas and the steps involved in the connection process. They can check to see if they can connect to the natural gas network and view connection timelines and costs. Once users are ready to connect, it only takes a short series of steps to sign up and pay online. They even get to choose their preferred meter location along the way.
We continuously assess the performance of GNI’s conversion funnel so that we can enhance the experience and connect more customers to natural gas.
A seamless experience through integrations
Behind the straightforward sign up process there are a number of integrations happening to deliver a rich customer experience. They allow customers check natural gas availability in their area and submit meter readings online. On GNI’s side they now have a fully integrated CRM to enable better customer service.
Mapping, CRM, meter reading and address detection are all handled through the following integrations:
- GIS Maps
- CRM Dynamics RESTful API
- IUS Meter Reading
- AutoAddress API
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