Gamechanging Smart Cities of the Future

During an appearance on Coffee Break with Game-Changers, Navigant looks at the role of prosumers in smart cities

As more cities embrace smart city goals around clean water, affordable clean energy, sustainability, and climate action, a new type of citizen is becoming increasingly important.

In an episode of Coffee Break with Game-Changers, Rob Wilhite, managing director at Navigant, shared his perspective on the digital prosumer and how this customer type is contributing to evolving utility business models.

“Consumers are demanding cleaner, more distributed, mobile, and higher greenhouse gas reduction efforts from their utilities than ever before, and so utilities have to rethink what their business model is because there are new stakeholders coming into the energy industry,” Wilhite said.

Wilhite gave an example of retailers such as Ikea, which offers a solar plus storage kit to European customers, effectively turning a consumer into a prosumer overnight. Other market forces — such as announcements from oil & gas companies on investments in clean and renewable energy, as well as automakers and their introductions of electric vehicles and changing infrastructure — are also colliding to push change.

Utilities, Wilhite said, will have to change from the traditional asset-based model to one that provides more services to consumers.

“Utilities have to move from treating the regulator as the ultimate consumer to treating the consumer as the ultimate regulator,” Wilhite said.

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