The European Union (EU) has set an ambitious energy policy objective to achieve three main targets by 2030:
- A 40% cut in greenhouse gas emissions compared to 1990 levels,
- A 27% share of Renewable Energy Sources (RESs), and
27% energy savings compared with the business-as-usual scenario.
Following the United States withdrawal from the Paris Climate agreement, 24 states have committed to upholding the U.S. commitment of reducing emissions 26 to 28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025 by joining the United States Climate Alliance.
Empowering customers, as key players in the energy market, is an explicit strategic goal for reaching these targets. This means providing information in a consumable format on energy consumption, increasing the awareness and performance of consumers as to how they consume energy. For most people, consumable means that its fun.
Research from the Resources and Energy Group indicates that whilst the roll-out of smart meters in the residential sector plays a key role in reaching the goals of sustainability strategies, this alone does not drive customers to use energy in a more sustainable manner. To succeed, more attention must be paid to customers energy behaviour. With the technical system architecture is set up to gather the data and enable energy applications for residential customers, game design provides the secret sauce to drive consumer engagement and manage energy-related behaviour change.
Game design becomes the energy for the energy program
Numerous studies state that engaging customers to change their energy related behaviour and recruiting their active participation is a critical factor for the success of smart grids.
Download the Energy Group research report here
Among the chief concerns of a more decentralized renewable energy model, is that people can become more more profligate, inadvertently increasing their overall carbon footprint. For example, people may view decentralized energy as being ‘free’ and so use more . There is historical precedent for this concern. Changing conventions around personal cleanliness is a commonly given example. While it was common in the past for people to have weekly baths to maintain personal hygiene, people now tend to take daily showers for a variety of purposes (e.g. to freshen up), thus increasing resource consumption. Although gas central heating systems are far more efficient, people’s expectations about what constitutes thermal comfort have changed, with research indicating that more rooms in homes are now being heated at higher temperatures and for longer. While technological innovations may make life quicker, easier and more resource efficient, changing social norms can undermine savings in both terms of resources and time invested unless we continue to engage consumers.
Reducing overall energy consumption requires a change in the ways in which people utilize energy on a daily basis, including when and how energy is used.
The primary research concludes that:
“Motivation techniques from the uprising research area of gamification can play a key role in achieving the system goals. Gamification addresses the features of an interactive system that aims to motivate and engage users through the use of game design elements. It is emerging as a compelling and effective engagement tool.”
The research goes on to propose a framework for delivery
Game design drives the change
Game design can increase customer engagement in energy systems through targeting a wide set of motives that a customer may have, including economic and environmental motives, as well as social motives, such as learning and contributing to the community. The research has identified the key requirements for energy-related behaviour change using the Trans Theoretical Model (TTM). This step is important to reach the goal of active participation and engagement of residential customers in energy applications. The TTM model is a comprehensive human behaviour change model which classifies the process of behaviour change into several stages.
Enter the Moroku GameSystem
Moroku “gamifies” digital experiences across multiple sectors. The ultimate goal is to help customers learn and achieve outcomes or change behaviours which will in turn drive engagement, adoption and awareness in whatever sector the business is working in. We believe that the use of game design (rewards, levels, recognition, prompts/notifications, insights plus a host of game mechanics) drives outcomes and will create sustainable change where customers will genuinely learn as they are engaged throughout the process. Core to this process is the utilisation of data and analytics to feed into the game engine and which will then be used to inform both the customer and the business on progress. We have the smart meter data , now its time to put it to use in a conumable format – a game based format.
The process of engagement with Moroku is simple:
- Game Design methodology – work with a business to workshop the problem, build the player/customer journeys, create low fidelity prototypes – about a 2 week process
- Deploy and roll out into production – build and deploy into the digital customer experience for the business. Moroku’s Gamesystem platform is utilised to provide the identity, rules, content, reward, data analytics and integration into the player/customer journeys. Moroku will also work to develop any apps, front end interfaces or integrations as required to the business’ environment
There is significant interest in this idea from within the energy sector. This includes helping customers through the steps above, understanding how energy consumption can be controlled and be more sustainable e.g. user is provided live data on their energy use and is prompted and rewarded when the user hits their energy saving goals, parents and work with their children to track and learn about energy consumption, solar and energy inputs back into the grid can be tracked and rewarded, badges and levels can be learnt as customer’s master their energy journey.
Time to get our game on!