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Energy is a major component of the United States’ economy. According to the University of Michigan Center for Sustainable Studies, “the U.S. spent $1.2 trillion on energy, or 5.7% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP)” in 2019. While that’s no small amount of what the U.S. produces, the somewhat surprising news is that energy consumption is projected to decline in the coming decades. By 2050, energy per capita is expected to decline below 300 million BTUs per capita, a dip beneath current usage statistics.
In any sort of business, relationships with customers don’t manage themselves. Even when it comes to organizations as large and labyrinthine as utilities, meeting customers at their point of need matters. Billing errors occur, payments don’t get made promptly, accounts need service adjustments, and physical assets require repair. If employees can’t connect a customer’s past history with a current issue, frustration starts to rise, and the utility won’t be able to execute its core mission.
Everyone understands that technology is advancing at breakneck speed, but sometimes it’s hard to quantify the rate of change. One way to measure technological advancement involves examining patent records, and when The Atlantic did so, it noted that “in the first decade of the patent office, the U.S. granted 229 patents—the same amount today’s America grants every 7.2 hours.” What’s more, consumers have come to expect that businesses will stay ahead of the technological curve. A survey conducted by Microsoft discovered that 80 percent of users will leave a website prior to making a purchase if it is out of date.
Interactive Voice Response Systems (IVR), otherwise known as Auto-Attendants, are systems designed to automate call processes. They help alleviate many of the burdens faced by both callers and receivers. However, if not appropriately incorporated into business operations, they may frustrate your customers, leave issues unresolved, and cause your business’ reputation to suffer. Whether you’re proving your customers with the ability to pay their bills over the phone, or you need to handle the onslaught of inquiries during an outage – having an Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system is integral to keeping things running smoothly.
In 2004, Newsweek’s Steven Levy wrote, “Digital mapping is about to change our world by documenting the real world, then integrating that information into our computers, phones and lifestyles. Roll over, Mason and Dixon: spurred by space photography, global satellite positioning, mobile phones, search engines and new ways of marking information for the World Wide Web, the ancient art of cartography is now on the cutting edge.” How right Levy was — and yet how little did he foresee the ways in which geographic information systems (GIS) would impact our day-to-day lives. What is GIS and its uses?