European Utility Week is the yearly highlight for the entire energy community. If you want to stay tuned on what’s hot and happening in the utilities landscape, EUW is the place to be. MECOMS took the train to Paris to get inspired and to strengthen ties with our customers, our prospect and our partners.
Almost 20,000 professionals joined European Utility Week last year. Over 800 companies had a booth on the exhibition floor. Every link in the energy supply chain was well represented in Paris: energy producers, energy suppliers, end-users, tech companies, regulators, governments,… Big, established companies – from homegrown Engie of course to Google – as well as young, innovative start-ups. Giants as well as challengers like MECOMS.
For our product builders, European Utility Week is an inexhaustible source of inspiration. The gathering gives them a sneak peek of the trends and evolutions that will shape the smart energy ecosystem: electrical car batteries that provide entire houses with energy, drones that monitor power plants, VR-glasses that help operators maintain those power plants,… No science fiction, but reality. When dozens of battery companies find their way to Paris, you can be damn sure that we are finally on the brink of the long predicted breakthrough of batteries to store energy.
Artificial intelligence, Internet of Things, VR, blockchain: all those technologies, often combined, create new business models. And those new models run on software. When it becomes possible for solar polar owners to sell the electricity they don’t consume themselves, they need software that allows them to put the surplus of power for sale, to find buyers, to make them pay for power. It’s not just about the infrastructure to transport the electricity, it’s also about the technological processes to make sure the transactions run smoothly. Behind every spectacular innovation, there is a lot of invisible, complex stuff going on in the background. That is exactly where our product builders come into the picture.
A night out in Paris
But European Utility Week is not just about inspiration. The networking part is equally important. MECOMS works for clients all over the world. European Utility Week is an excellent opportunity to meet those clients in real life, instead of talking to them over a crappy and blurry Skype connection. We organize tons of face-to-face meetings during European Utility Week. Not just with clients, but also with prospects and (future) partners.
MECOMS also sets up an alternative evening program at the gathering. At European Utility Week, the 3 days are stuffed with presentations, product launches, talks, workshops, etc. But the evenings are pretty calm. If you travel to Paris from the other end of the world, you don’t want to spend 3 evenings all alone in a small hotel room. So we take clients, prospects and partners out to enjoy all the best the City of Light has to offer. Think Moulin Rouge, think wine & cheese tasting in “les Caves du Louvre”, think wine creation.
Some companies do everything to avoid their clients or prospects meeting each other. We do the exact opposite. Instead of selling our own products, we let our clients sell them. They are much more credible. Mouth-to-mouth is a thousand times more effective than blowing your own trumpet.
Plant the seed, harvest later
European Utility Week is not where the deals are actually being closed, the gathering is more suited to plant the first seed. Harvesting can wait. When you compare it with buying a new car, European Utility Week is the place where you see your future car pass by. It catches your attention, you look for information, you might talk to some people already driving that same car, but you wait a few days or a few weeks to make an appointment at the car dealer. That first glimpse, that first trigger, that is European Utility Week.
Because a huge conference hall, almost 20,000 people and 800 companies might be a little overwhelming, we decided to also organize our own MECOMS-powered event. Our industry event is called BOOST20 and will be held in our HQ offices in Antwerp. Similar to European Utility Week, with the same mix of inspiration and networking, but more compact and a little less superficial. More tailored, more in depth, more interactive.
The common thread is that we believe in bringing people together to spark innovation. The energy ecosystem is pretty conservative, the digital transformation is sluggish. But the energy transition becomes urgent and even the big giants realize they need to speed up their innovation. The challenges have become so big that the answer won’t come from just one technology. We need to break down walls and connect different technologies.
We see more and more collaborations popping up. When we look for partners to join forces with, we don’t just look for a technological fit. That’s only the first step. The cultural fit is probably even more important. And what better way to find out if there is a cultural fit than a night out in Paris?