Energy management systems are quickly becoming essential to keeping costs down for customers in the retail industry. Furthermore, the number of “green” watchdog groups online is growing, holding companies accountable for their unrestrained carbon footprints. In fact, up to 80 percent of a company’s carbon footprint derives from electricity consumption, so the solution seems simple. Implement a means of reducing electricity costs, but as a company grows, knowing who is and is not turning off the lights becomes extremely difficult.
In this space, energy management as-a-service (EMaaS) is becoming more popular. Companies have shifted away from in-house energy management initiatives and outsourcing energy management processes to other companies via the cloud, explains Dan Kubala of the National Retail Federation. But, the benefits of EMaaS go beyond just saving money by solving the top three business challenges in retail EMaaS seamlessly.
Challenge #1: Justify Initial Investment of Retail EMaaS.
The initial investment in an EMaaS is part of what is driving this trend to abandon traditional demand management systems. Retail EMaaS companies use the Internet of Things (IoT) to automate energy management processes.
Solution: Set Clear Expectations for Return on Investment.
Data analytics from past electricity use patterns can help companies reduce demand through load shedding earlier in the day. Moreover, the savings from a few days’ worth of electricity use could easily rival the initial investment into retail EMaaS. In other words, the challenge of selecting and subscribing is simplified.
Challenge #2: How Secure is the Data?
Another factor companies consider when adopting retail EMaaS is data security. Security breaches have been responsible for untold damage to millions of consumers in recent years, so being skittish to machine-to-machine connected devices is expected. Fortunately, the technology being used in EMaaS offerings is built on strong security measures. In other words, these companies could not exist without strong, cloud-based systems.
Solution: Keep Data Secure With Advanced Encryption in the Cloud.
Cloud-based systems do more than just house data. They leverage the computing power of millions of devices in multiple locations. Thus, the security protocols being used typically adhere to 256-bit AES encryption, meaning data is as secure as classified government files. Of course, keeping strong passwords for dashboards or other key performance indicator (KPI) tools is essential to maintaining security.
Challenge #3: How Does EMaaS Save Money?
Imagine what it would cost to link every device in your building to the internet. Can you afford the online storage space needed, and do you understand what should and should not be tracked? Moreover, having information is useless unless it can catalyze cost-saving actions, such as automated switching off unnecessary HVAC systems during peak energy usage.
Solution: Get Actionable Data Through Clear, Concise and Automated KPIs and Dashboarding.
The key to this challenge is having actionable, concise information available and ready to be used. This might include using KPIs and dashboards to help upper-level staff stay updated on recent energy usage patterns and automated processes. However, EMaaS companies may offer automated notifications to ensure your team stays on the same page. Meanwhile, the company can perform audits to keep the system working properly and saving you money.
The Big Picture.
Ease of selection, integration, deployment and management are driving forces behind increasing use of retail EMaaS. Ultimately, the challenges of utilizing an emergency management system are eliminated and streamlined when working with a partnering provider of EMaaS. EMaaS leads to a single, smart and highly efficient system to drive down energy consumption costs.