IT Brief Australia logo
Technology news for Australia's largest enterprises
Story image

Interview: How Origin Energy uses AWS to transform its business

By Sara Barker
Thu 29 Nov 2018
FYI, this story is more than a year old

Origin Energy is an Australian electricity retailer that is on the cutting edge of customer service, collaboration, innovation, and experimentation.

At AWS re:Invent this week, we chatted with Cameron Briggs, general manager of Future Energy for Origin Energy. He runs a team based out of Sydney, and lives in the heart of Silicon Valley.

His team is to find the best people, partners, technologies, and business models that will shape a changing and vastly different energy landscape in the next decade.

“It's a really interesting time to be an energy provider. There’s a number of different things going on that are impacting both how we're going to think about anything in terms where and how we use data, and also in terms of customer interactions. Technology macro events are also having a huge impact.”

So how does an energy provider like Origin end up embracing Amazon Web Services (AWS)? Briggs explains the journey that helped the company get there.

Nobody knows what the future of energy will look like, but there will be a number of things driving change, he says.

There are moves to decarbonise the energy sector. There's a big push in terms of decentralised energy, and increasing amount of data and digitisation,” Briggs says.

“Having the skill sets around being able to coordinate and utilise data is really important. It's also important to be able to communicate and coordinate different devices that might exist within the home, particularly from an energy point of view.”

“We started the journey with AWS a couple of years ago. What we were doing at the time was unrelated – it was more about coordinating information that we needed to run our normal risk meetings. The meetings look at the different factors that are impacting a business.”

Origin wanted to centralise disparate information that had been collated for those monthly meetings, including information that had been printed and given to people.

“Centralising that data meant you are sitting there and making decisions quickly and in real time. That’s where the journey with AWS started.”

“The benefits of actually having a predefined data strategy were being able to access and coordinated data sets with the business and seeing how efficient that made utilising that data.”

Apply that to future energy, when there are a number of different solutions and experimentation to see what works and what doesn’t.

“What we liked about AWS is the ability to turn things on off very quickly without having months and months of mobilisation time; and without having fixed costs.”

“You can try something for two hours and if it works, fantastic. If it doesn’t work, it doesn’t matter – you can just turn it off.”

He adds that Origin Energy’s work with AWS has been around solving problems – not pushing products.

“We come in and say, ‘here's something we're trying to do’. They say, 'here's some Lego bricks that you can use. Maybe that might be a really good solution. More than that, here are two or three other companies that are trying to do similar things – why don’t you spend some time with them?'”

“That’s consistent with what we're trying to do part of that growth in Origin. We actively work with other energy companies around the world to share what we're doing, to learn from them to learn and to teach from our perspective.”

Business process, innovation, collaboration, forward thinking, flexibility and scalability are all key aspects of Origin Energy’s approach.

“It's a problem solving approach – let’s just try something. And because of the way it works, you can just do that without necessarily agonising over a particular decision.”

In addition to centralising information, AWS plays an important back-end role in consolidating customer data, particularly for gen-tailers like Origin.

“The more information you have, and the more you can access it, the more you can look at functionality, performance, and maintenance,” Briggs says.

He adds that new technologies and distributed generation like solar panels, batteries, electric vehicle chargers and in-home devices all require customer management.

They will not only shape the products and services that Origin offers, but will also be a way of increasing or decreasing costs as more renewable energy panels are introduced to the sector.

When customers get home and turn on light switches and devices, they’re not necessarily aware of what impact that has on the network, or the wholesale prices.

“Australia has one of the one of the most volatile energy markets in the world in this big swings in terms of the wholesale price.”

This is where energy monitoring and usage can affect on-peak or off-peak pricing charges. Notifications to customers about efficient energy usage need to be based off data.

"Once we set up a data lake with AWS we were able to get the information to the company much faster. It’s another example of how systems can optimise services for customers.”

“You might say here, we want to say there's an incentive not to run your air conditioner between five and six o'clock every day. If you have data that can be accessed and coordinated in an efficient, user-friendly way, that makes innovations much less complex.”

Briggs adds that while the idea of collaboration and innovation to this extent may be a slightly different model to what traditional energy companies are used to, they must now start to be a little less protective of what they do.

For us we’re evolving our thinking, changing how we want to do things. I live in Silicon Valley, I share an office with three other energy companies as four of us sitting working together. It’s all part of a general theme about what brings us together. We want to help each other solve some of these problems. And by sharing, you get a better end outcome.”

Related stories
Top stories
Story image
Tech job moves
Tech job moves - Adatree, Brother, Databricks, Nutanix & Rubrik
We round up all job appointments from May 20-26, 2022, in one place to keep you updated with the latest from across the tech industries.
Story image
Customer experience
The importance of service level management to customer experience
Staffing shortages have impacted site reliability engineers in particular since they are under extreme pressure to ensure that digital assets perform at optimum levels 24/7.
Story image
Deloitte expands cloud observability practice with Dynatrace
Deloitte is expanding its cloud observability practice, including DevOps principles, AI/ML, cloud complexity management and software engineering.
Story image
Contact Centre
Leveraging technology in contact centres to reduce attrition rates
Many organisations worldwide have accelerated DX to better respond to changing market drivers and business environments after the disruption of the pandemic.
Story image
Digital Transformation
Digital transformation increasing business complexities
A new survey suggests businesses must re-examine their digital transformation approach to better help employees adapt to change.
Story image
Digital wallets
Australians lead the way in digital payment use - report
Australian consumers are at the forefront of mobile wallet use and adoption of digital banking tools, abandoning cash and physical payment experiences.
Story image
Managed service provider
Barracuda MSP Day 2022 highlights MSP opportunities
Barracuda Networks has released a report showing global services-related MSP revenue is set to increase by more than a third in 2022 compared to 2021.
Story image
MailGuard warns of new scam targeting Telstra customers
Telstra customers in Australia are being warned of a new scam involving "Unsuccessful Payment" messages.
Story image
Customer experience
Phone, internet complaints increase for first time in five quarters
Phone and internet complaints have increased for the first time in five quarters, according to a new telco report from the Ombudsman.
Story image
Fortinet introduces self-learning AI in latest offering
Fortinet is introducing self-learning AI capabilities in its new network detection and response offering, FortiNDR.
Story image
Silver Peak
The path to an adaptive, modern network
Managing and securing the network looks different than it did just two years ago—especially given that most of these networks are made up of multi-generations of infrastructure stitched together over time.
Story image
Informatica, Oracle enter strategic global cloud partnership
Oracle named Informatica as a preferred partner for enterprise cloud data integration and data governance for data warehouse and lakehouse solutions on OCI. 
Story image
Accenture - a collective security approach a driving factor for cyber resilience
With the approaching Davos World Economic Forum upon us, it is even more imperative to discuss the impact of cybersecurity on business operations leading into the future.
Story image
Data Center
Preventing downtime costs and damage with Distributed Infrastructure Management
Distributed Infrastructure Management (DIM) can often be a lifeline for many enterprises that work with highly critical ICT infrastructure and power sources.
Story image
i-PRO releases smallest AI-based surveillance camera on the market
The new i-PRO mini network camera is now available, with a pocket-sized form factor and full AI analytics functionality.
Story image
MedCart achieves close to AUD$10 million in sales with help from Marketplacer tech
Australian health and medical start-up MedCart has achieved annual sales of close to AUD$10 million in less than 12 months, utilising Marketplacer marketplace technology to help achieve successful results.
Find out how a behavioural analytics-driven approach can transform security operations with the new Exabeam commissioned Forrester study.
Link image
Story image
Multi Cloud
Red Hat updates dev tools, empowers use of hybrid and multicloud
Red Hat has unveiled updates across its portfolio of developer tools, designed to help organisations build and deliver applications faster.
Story image
Microsoft, Cloudian partnership offers data center flexibility
Cloudian’s HyperStore object storage platform is now integrated and validated to work with Microsoft SQ Server 2022, offering more flexible and scalable data centers.
Story image
Microsoft previews Power Platform website design offering
Microsoft has announced the preview of Power Pages, the fifth product in its Power Platform family, designed for low-code makers and professional developers.
Story image
Australian space tech startup secures SpaceX support
Space Machines Company has secured the support of SpaceX as a launch partner in carrying SMC's Optimus Orbital Transfer Vehicle to space next year.
Story image
Digital Transformation
Harnessing digital innovations to maximise loyalty programmes and improve CX
When it comes to the retail sector, merchants have never had access to so many different client touchpoints and data to understand their customers better.
Story image
Top data and tech challenges for APAC banks - report
InterSystems’ new report finds that 87% of A/NZ banks experience frustrations and concerns in using their data to drive decision-making.
Story image
Red Sift
Entrust expands strategic partnership with Red Sift
Entrust has expanded its strategic partnership with Red Sift to make it easier for businesses to adopt Brand Indicators for Message Identification (BIMI) standards for email identification and security.
Story image
MEC spending for private cellular networks to reach $5.8b
A new ABI Research report finds the revenue for Multi Access Edge Compute (MEC) deployments for private cellular networks will reach USD$5.8 billion by 2030.
Story image
Check Point
Check Point and CCTV expert join forces to boost protection
The partnership will involve Check Point Quantum IoT Protect Nano Agent being embedded in Provision-ISR’s CCTV cameras for on-device runtime protection.
Story image
Digital Signage
MAXHUB's Digital Signage range to bolster boardroom productivity
The new MAXHUB Digital Signage technology is purpose-built to make every kind of team meeting more effective.
Story image
4/10 Australian SMEs fallen victim to cyber-attacks since pandemic
Almost four out of teb SMEs in Australia have fallen victim to cyber-attacks since the pandemic began, according to a new study.
Story image
NVIDIA announces a spate of new innovations at Computex 2022
NVIDIA has announced its latest innovations in data center, robotics, content creation, and gaming in a virtual keynote address on the opening day of Computex 2022 in Taipei.
Story image
Identity and Access Management
The post-pandemic workforce requires secure IAM capabilities
HID Global discusses what identity and access management means for organisations in today's convoluted digital world.
Story image
Third-party automotive apps bear significant privacy risks
Mobile applications for connected cars provide various features to make life easier for motorists, but they can also be a source of risk.
Story image
Consumer relationships with digital services continues to change
Two years of pandemic-induced reliance on technology for work has altered our relationship with digital apps and services, new research has found.
Story image
Cyber attacks
Devastating cyber attacks expected to hit energy sector
Energy executives anticipate life, property, and environment-compromising cyber attacks on the sector within the next two years.
Story image
Sysdig unveils new Kubernetes troubleshooting and cloud innovations
Sysdig has introduced two new innovations that look to help bolster cloud services and simplify Kubernetes troubleshooting.
Story image
BYOD / Bring Your Own Device
How zero trust can lead the battle against ransomware
SecOps teams champion a zero trust strategy to support the fight against the escalating risk of cybercrime and help monitor threat actors across a network.
Story image
Elevation of Privilege the top 2021 Microsoft vulnerability
BeyondTrust has released its 2022 Microsoft Vulnerabilities Report, finding that Elevation of Privilege is the top vulnerability category for the second consecutive year.
Story image
Aligned Data Centers increases sustainability-linked loan
Aligned Data Centers has increased its sustainability-linked loan from $375 million to $1.75 billion to speed up the next phase of its strategic growth.
Story image
What every CISO must answer to enable a best-in-class security operations program
It has been widely reported recently that South Australian government employees have been the victims of a cyberattack.
Story image
Ponemon Institute
Email revealed to be riskiest channel for data loss
More than half (60%) of organisations experienced data loss or exfiltration caused by an employee mistake on email in the last 12 months.
Story image
The most common online scams in Australia
No one is safe from online scammers, and many of these scammers have capitalised on the pandemic, using this confusing time to attack more people than ever.
Story image
NetApp launches Spot PC, a new Desktop-as-a-Service solution
This is a new managed cloud DaaS solution with security, automation, observability and optimisation capabilities, designed for the needs of today.
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
Gartner reveals top three tech trends for banks this year
Gartner says generative artificial intelligence, autonomic systems and privacy-enhancing computation are gaining traction in banking and investment services.
Story image
Infosec unveils role-guided cybersecurity training roadmaps
Infosec Skills Roles maps hands-on training and certifications to the 12 most in-demand cybersecurity roles to maximise training efficiency.
Story image
Hybrid Cloud
Barracuda expands cloud-native SASE platform
"The expansion of Barracuda's cloud-native SASE platform for hybrid deployment models and IIoT environments solves a number of challenges."