Every time you write a blog post it’s one more index page on your website, which means it’s one more opportunity for you to show in SEO and drive traffic to your website.
It helps drive traffic to your website.
In fact, websites with a blog tend to have 434% more index pages. That's a lot of opportunities.
Blogging also helps you get discovered on social media. Every time you write a blog post, you’re creating content that people can share on their social networks like Linkedin, Twitter or Facebook, which helps to expose your brand to a new audience that may not know you yet.
Blog content also helps keep your social presence going.
Blogging also helps to convert traffic into leads. Now that you have traffic coming to your website, through your blog, you have an opportunity to engage with that traffic and convert them into leads.
Just like every blog post you write is another index page and an opportunity to show up on search engines, each post is a new opportunity to generate leads. In fact, search engine leads have 14.6% close rate, while outbound leads have a 1.7% close rate.
It establishes your business as a thought leader in the space.
The best business blogs answer common questions their prospects and customers have. If you are consistently creating content that’s helpful to your target audience, it will help establish you as an authority in their eyes. Blogging can especially be a helpful tool for sales and service professionals.
Establishing authority as a thought leader within your industry is a hard thing to accomplish. Certainly not as concrete as traffic and leads. But consider your blog posts as helpful sales enablement drivers.
If prospect finds answers to their common questions by from blog posts written by people at your company, they are much more likely to come into the sales process trusting what you have to say.
Additionally, prospects that have been reading your blog posts will typically enter the sales process more educated on your place in the market., your industry and what you have to offer.
It drives long term, sustainable results.
Let’s say you sit down for 2 hours and write and publish a blog post today. Let’s say that that blog post gets you 135 visits but no new leads within the first month. That post is far from done. That content will soon rank on search engines. That means for days, weeks an months you can continue to get traffic and leads from that blog post.
Hopefully, this demonstrates the value we need to consider creating and scaling a blog for your business. Because taking the time to do so can help you, your business, and your customers to grow better together.
A digital transformation for businesses is a journey with multiple connected goals, striving towards continues optimization across processes and divisions. In practice, end-to-end customer experience optimization, operational flexibility and innovation are key drivers and goals of digital transformation.
Digital transformation is the process of adapting existing business practices to new digital methods, in order to increase efficiency and keep up with rapidly-changing market demands. This strategy aims to create the capabilities of fully leveraging the possibilities and opportunities of new technologies and their impact on the company's revenue faster, better and in more innovative way in the future.
As rapid tech innovation causes business needs to change so rapidly, soft skills are crucial to the success of an organization. Business process management and business process automation are essential in digital transformation strategies. It's a mix of customer-facing goals and internal goals combined and intertwined.
The vast majority (86%) of organizations recognize that developing new leaders and managers is critical for long-term success. Digital transformation puts people and strategy before technology. Although IT will play an important role in driving digital transformation strategy, the work of implementing and adapting to the massive changes that go along with digital transformation falls to everyone.
Studies show that poor project management ends up costing organizations valuable time and money. Keep your company’s project management skills sharp and up to date. New ecosystem and workflow models, with better and seamless collaborative work, co-creating and entirely new business approaches (for example; social selling) - leading to new business models and revenue sources. Ecosystem will be key in achieving digital transformation success.
This is why we recommend on using many advance services available outside: Marketing Automation, CRM Tools, Project Management Tools, Tracking and Analytics and other technological advancements as possible that would add performance, speed and value to your work.
To learn more about the best marketing and sales tools available: http://bit.ly/2I7mfDz
Sales force adoption is often the biggest hurdle for companies implementing a new CRM. Understanding how the CRM will support existing processes is key to successful implementation.
Deal Stages. What are the major steps in the team’s buying process? Effective deal stages are clearly defined and tied to a trackable action. Some common stages include call/demo scheduled, follow up email sent, proposal drafted, deal won, and deal lost.
Custom Fields. Most CRM's will come with basic fields like contact email, country and company website. But these fields will not cover information specific to a certain industry. Custom fields ensure a CRM holds all the important information for a specific company's marketing, sales, and services teams.
Lead Ownership. For a CRM system to be effective companies need clear rules dictating ownership of leads and accounts. Without this information, there will be a conflict between individual sales reps and more broadly between departments (for example, sales, and services).
Territory Carving. If a company uses geographic territories to determine sales ownership the CRM must be configured to store this information. Some CRM systems also enable automatic lead routing based on territory rules.
More Data into CRM.
Clean the Data. Don’t waste time importing old test contacts or fields that are no longer in use. Delete dirty data before migration to avoid confusing your sales team.
Discuss the possibility for errors and develop contingency plans. Whenever large amounts of data move from one system to another there is a risk of losing some information. Companies should save an offline copy of every file before uploading it to the new CRM.
Move Data in Sections. There is no reason move every piece of company data at once. Moving data in sections makes it easier to identify unexpected behavior during the migration.
Before Launching a new advertisement channel there are a couple of things a lot of advertisers seem to neglect. At IV-Lead we make sure to set performance goals ahead of launching a new campaign and ensure that it follows established performance expectations.
When IV-Lead launches a new ad channel, we create a meticulous plan that outlines how it will be assessed and the timeline necessary for the most accurate evaluation. We do this within the agreements we’ve reached with our clients.
In order to optimize your ad campaign, IV-Lead segments and evaluates your target audience.
We set expectations linked to certain audiences' performances. In doing so we can accurately project which audience will guarantee a fruitful conversion rate, thus making our ad campaign as successful a possible.
A view-through conversion is another metric that we at IV-Lead track closely.
We understand that a lot of users see the ad, but decide not to click it yet still interact with the brand they’ve been exposed to.
That is why we track both click-through and view-through conversions
We also understand the importance of passing campaign metrics into your CRM system. This helps us set achievable expectations through prior sales lifecycles and allows the sales team to reach out to leads while they’re still hot!
IV-Lead recommends LinkedIn as an ad platform and metric measurement system.
LinkedIn ads use a more precise approach when it comes to measuring ad performance, unlike most analytics platforms, which will only attribute value to the consumers' most recent click and can only track activity from a user's single device.
This could result in faulty data because a lot of users don’t always click on an ad, some visit the website directly or visits the company’s LinkedIn page using different devices before converting.
All of IV-Lead’s clients have benefited from our well planned, precision-targeted ad campaigns and have now gained a strong, well-established ad channel.
Tags: Build a Blog Community
Many different tools are available for sales and marketing teams to become more efficient. Automation and analytical tools are very helpful to create more precise sales processes and understanding of the customers.
Your sales team wants to sell – not fight with messy spreadsheets, cluttered inboxes, or clunky tools that slow them down.
HubSpot CRM automates the tasks salespeople hate and takes minutes to learn – not months. That means doing more deals and less data entry.
Monday.com is a tool that simplifies the way teams work together - Manage workload, track projects, move work forward, communicate with people.
Manage, track & organize all your work in one visual tool. Team collaboration service that offers an attractive interface and a high level of customization
Linkedin Sales Navigator
LinkedIn Sales Navigator makes social selling easy with sales tools that focus on helping you find the right prospects to build trusted relationships.
The world of selling has changed. Get the social selling tools you need to succeed in the new era. Drive more sales and build pipeline.
Find direct, updated emails of the people you actually need to contact. Accurate B2B sales data. Real-time validation.
Lusha’s chrome extension enriches any business profile with direct phone numbers and emails. Lusha is the easiest way to find B2B contact information with just one click.
Google Analytics lets you measure your advertising ROI as well as track your Flash, video, and social networking sites and applications.
Get a deeper understanding of your customers. Google Analytics gives you the free tools you need to analyze data for your business in one place.
Toggl is the leading time tracking app for agencies, teams and small businesses. A simple time tracker with powerful reports and cross-platform functionalities.
The simplest time tracker to help you get things done. Ideal for teams, freelancers & agencies.
Connect Your Apps and Automate Workflows. Easy automation for busy people. Zapier moves info between your web apps automatically, so you can focus on your most important work.
By setting up automated workflows with Zapier, you can cut out manual effort and tedious copy-pasting.
The way people consume media and learn about new companies has changed significantly. Alongside that shift, a transformation in the media industry has occurred.
There are fewer top-tier print outlets, fewer long-form stories, and far fewer journalists in this new era of social media advertising. At the same, we’ve been introduced to a massive proliferation of blogs that make it hard to differentiate news from promotional content.
Be Your Own Storyteller
Conventional wisdom around public relations suggests that you draft a press release or media kit, send it to journalists who cover your space, then cross your fingers and hope for the best. Unfortunately, journalists don’t work off your company’s promotional plan, and they are drowning in pitches from other companies that wish to be promoted by them.
What can you do?
You can (and should) draft a press release to make it as easy as possible for journalists to pull information or quotes to file a story about your news. You should also invest the same amount of time (or more) in crafting a blog entry with your perspective on the story, what makes it newsworthy, and most importantly, why your customers and industry should care about it.
Create a narrative your customers care about
A news story about your new product or office is going to focus on its implications for your industry or your neighborhood, depending on the publication. What your customers, prospects, and leads care most about is how your news benefits them.
What can you do?
Your releases should reflect how your customers think and talk about your product. Instead of crafting your releases and blog entries to try to impress reporters, make sure they resonate with your customers.
Think outside the usual box
You may not always have a huge product announcement on the schedule, but there are unique opportunities for every company, big or small, to get noticed. Look at your company on a granular level and ask yourself: What are we doing that’s remarkable?
What can you do?
Instead of emailing reporters to tell them why your co-founder or VP Marketing is an expert on a given topic, have them publish a blog entry on the topic first. Create the content first, then pitch it second so reporters know their take is interesting and relevant.
The Role of PR in Marketing
Creating your own content and using your blog as a media resource allows you to not only create your own narrative, but to drive traffic to your site. This will also result in benefits for SEO and potential media coverage, and can often capture the attention of industry leaders and journalists while driving relevant traffic to your website.
What can you do?
Don’t just sit and wait for reporters to notice your non-existing content or cover what is it that you are doing. The first fundamental principle of inbound public relations is to tell your own story first.
Whether that story is told through blogging or social media, your website should have a press page that hosts your recent news coverage and other materials that would be of value to a journalist covering your company or your space.
Share your coverage. This is a challenge for small businesses, and makes it crucial to get your media hits on your visitor’s radar. When your company is covered, interviewed, or referenced in an article, blog post, video, or talk - post a link to the content on your Press Page and share it with your target audience on social networks as well.
First, set up your Hubspot account:
Second, install Hubspot Sales extension and connect your inbox:
Get started with your CRM.
Import contacts, companies, deals, notes, tasks and products
Set up and customize your deal pipelines and deal stages
Get started with your marketing tools.
Create Lead forms and pop-up forms
Use non-HubSpot forms
Create and analyze Facebook lead ads in HubSpot
Get started with your sales tools.
Use sales email templates
Use meetings, calling tool and conversational bot
Create email sequences
Monitor Systems and Data.
What information is most relevant to a company will change as the business scales overtime. For a CRM to remain useful processes and data cleanliness should be evaluated annually.
We‘re moving away from centralized power plants, and entering the era of the distributed grid enabling a peer to peer market. Fsight’s obejctive is to implement viable solutions that will free modern societies from their fossil fuel and nuclear dependencies thanks to their grid management solutions. Fsight is at the forefront of this effort, with distributed grid management based on AI.
As an innovative company, Fsight enrolled IV-Lead’s services to assist them with with the expansion of their presence in the renewable energy market, IV-Lead originated a comprehensive marketing plan and strategy that would boost Fsight’s stake within the market.
IV-Lead aided Fsight’s appearance at various renewable energy events, like the European Utility week held in Paris November 2019. For which we created marketing content to be distributed and showcased at Fsight’s boot, which we booked at EUW. IV-Lead representatives also accompanied Fsight to the event and aided Fsight on location.
IV-Lead took on the challenge of creating and updating their blogs, leverage aggregated analytics and SEO optimization for google, and implemented Hubspot CRM. IV-lead also enrolled Fsight in various successful ad campaigns on the most respectable social media networks. The renewable energy market is a flourishing and competitive one to get a stronghold in. This is where IV-Lead stepped up to the challenge and is working to make Fsight a household name in the renewable energy market.
Vexigo offers a variety of digital services. From digital advertising to increase your reach and user engagement, to monetization solutions to drive your revenues as well as a mobile game development studio. Vexigo delivers compelling results through its proprietary, patented technology.
“For the past few years, we have tried all kinds of tools, for email marketing and lead management. Most tools at some point have either become too expensive for the value they deliver, or not powerful enough to manage both the scale and reach we were looking for, as well as our own sales cycle”, Says Tal Ozery, Vexigo’s CEO.
We wanted to personalize our outreach and nurture a real connection with our prospects, so that if the offer is right - we’ll know we’ve found a good partner to mutually grow with.
IV-Lead teamed up with Vexigo and implemented Hubspot, generated and organized a large database of qualified leads, and originated automatic email sequences. This allowed Vexigo to segment and personally reach their audience and grow their partnerships. Vexigo is now able to follow-up and reach out to a large number of clients in a relevant and efficient way.
IV-Lead is a B2B Digital Marketing and Sales agency with professional experience and high creativity. We provide our clients with a variety of services to help them improve their digital brand and create better communication with their clients and their industry.
HB Group is one of Israel’s leading enterprises heading 3 different divisions; safety, learning, and Innovation, which together provide comprehensive services for corporations related to the safety world of both physical and virtual assets (Data, Facilities and Employees).
As with most well-established companies that have been around for decades, modern problems arise and need to be dealt with swiftly and accordingly to secure the company’s relevancy in an ever-evolving market. Even though HB Group maintained the same quality services and respectable reputation, its infrastructure lacked certain digital tools and solutions to secure their relevancy throughout our digital times.
Sasi Bachar, VP Marketing & Business Development at HB Group for the past 5 years, has initiated the plan for a revolutionary transformation in the company, especially in the digital world but also in their marketing strategy altogether.
“HB Group is a strong company, with many years of experience and a strong foot-print in the safety world of Israel, working with many of the biggest companies in Israel like Microsoft and Intel, and many governmental branches as well.
What happened to us was very natural, and probably happens to many, if not all, mature companies in Israel who entered the digital world with the belief that our history and reputations were enough to excel in the new market, and that digital is only a suggestion for companies who have already proved themselves. And also, that marketing strategy that has worked before, are going to continue to work and that we can count on them.”
In order to tackle these issues and stay ahead of the curve, HB Group approached IV-Lead for potential solutions. After presenting HB with a detailed marketing strategy, competition analysis, and execution plan, Sasi was determined they can begin to re-establish their grip in the Israeli Market to which the company’s sectors needed digital restructuring.
We were more than happy to tackle the issues at hand and presented HB with a comprehensive, actionable Marketing plan to boost their online presence and make use of modern marketing channels and tools to increase their reach and ultimately boost their revenue.
Part of our strategy was to optimize HB’s websites in order to better leverage aggregated analytics and SEO optimization, create and ensure the upkeep of their news and blog articles as well as their social media presence. IV-lead also enrolled HB in various successful ad campaigns on the most respectable social media networks.HB successfully expanded the reach and awareness of their brand and services with the assistance of IV-lead’s skillful proficiency in Digital Marketing.
Sales is about activity levels and numbers. What gets done daily shapes the month, quarter, and year. All too often I see the monthly, quarterly, and annual scramble when it should be a "daily push". A Rainmaker sales manager focuses on daily goals.
"What daily activity levels and objectives will be accomplished to make monthly goals - quarterly and annual results a reality?"
S.M.A.R.T goal setting brings structure and trackability into your goals and objectives. Instead of vague resolutions, SMART goal setting creates verifiable trajectories towards a certain objective, with clear milestones and an estimation of the goal's attainability. Every goal or objective, from intermediary step to overarching objective, can be made S.M.A.R.T. and as such, brought closer to reality.
What daily activity levels are necessary to accomplish the objectives and results? For example, a sales team member should write down that he or she will make an X number of calls today.
How will the activity levels be measured? Remember what gets measured gets improved. HubSpot is the program we choose to measure activity levels at our company, but there are many similar products available on the market.
Are the activity levels achievable? Unrealistic activity levels will not happen. The sales manager in the example above is expected to make $80K in one day, which is pretty unachievable for this company. Avoid this by making objectives that are achievable.
Do the activity and objectives drive toward the desired results? If a team member is over preparing (i.e. researching that never ends), it gets to the point where their research is no longer relevant to the activity objectives.
Goals must be shared within a particular time frame. A commitment to a time period provides focus.
With customer expectations at an all-time high, it’s important to make sure your central CRM system (as do you too!) continues to improve so that together you can work smarter, and not necessarily harder.
HubSpot CRM is the perfect tool to manage your company’s activities from the start and throughout your growth, as your company begins to interact with more and more leads, growing its customer base and working with various partners, suppliers, and stakeholders.
Keeping in mind that various stakeholders are in mind, you are also required to maintain endless of marketing and sales activities to keep a good relationship with all the people that you are in touch with, activities like email marketing, customer’s feedback forms, monthly newsletter, social media ads, lead generation, direct sales approaching and on top of all of it, insightful reports to monitor your activity and it’s effectiveness.
Here are the latest updates and improvements of HubSpot, all been released during this month:
Email marketing and ads are now part of the free marketing tools available in the HubSpot CRM, giving all marketers the tools they need to capture leads and nurture them into loyal customers. By rooting your marketing tools in your CRM, you can give your customers the personalized experiences they have come to expect.
With free email marketing and ads in the HubSpot CRM, you’ll get:
Free email campaigns - creation, sending, and analytics, so you have the tools you need to see the full view of the customer journey and offer a more cohesive experience.
The ability to create contact lists - and send up to 2,000 emails per month, all with an email editor designed with efficiency and ease of use in mind.
Expanded ads tool capabilities - that let you manage and track up to $1,000 per month of ad spend across Facebook, Google, and LinkedIn ads—plus conversion-level reporting, and up to two account connections.
The new HubSpot App Marketplace makes it easier to find, understand, and install app integrations for your HubSpot account so you can connect your data and improve your customer experience.
More apps - Hundreds of new apps were added this year, including new integrations like Slack, Linkedin Sales Navigator, and WordPress.
More informed integration decisions - A new design for the marketplace app that prioritizes the most relevant information, including demo videos, pricing, and subscription requirements.
Easier discovery of relevant apps - Better correlation between your type of business and the recommended integrations provided to you by HubSpot.
Each month, 20 billion messages are exchanged between people and businesses on Facebook Messenger. Now, with Facebook Messenger in HubSpot Conversations, you can capture those one-to-one interactions seamlessly.
Meet your audience where they are - Connect with customers on their favorite channels, on their terms, and at their own pace.
Messages all in one place - Conversations started via Facebook Messenger can be carried on and stored in HubSpot’s Conversations inbox.
Delight across teams - With support forms now in the inbox and new unified thread views, everyone across your organization—from Marketing to Sales to Service.
Coming soon, HubSpot will be adding even more features and functionality to Sales Hub Professional and Marketing Hub Starter, at a new price.
And I will be here to make sure that you’ll hear about all the latest updates that HubSpot has to offer, in order to make your business grow smarter, and not necessarily harder.
Leave us your details in the following link and we promise to get back to you with the best solution for your company.
In today’s multifaceted energy world, a growing number of prosumer assets are increasing the complexity of power grids. Decentralized systems with solar generation, wind turbines, and electric vehicles provide promise for a decarbonized future, but also bring along challenges for both utilities and prosumers.
Distributed Vs. Centralized
The energy market is now moving away from centralized power plants and entering the era of distributed grids and peer-to-peer markets. Multiple elements of the energy ecosystem are evolving at a dizzying speed. We are seeing a very complex market emerging, where the distribution company needs to allow more and more renewables and flexible energy assets to be installed behind the meter, while maintaining a stable local grid. At the same time, prosumers who have installed such flexible assets want to optimize their energy flow to maximize the value of their investment.
It’s very logical to manage electricity consumption so that you sell when it’s expensive and buy when it’s cheap. Artificial intelligence and deep learning algorithms can be applied in the energy sector in a very interesting way in this context. As the end users are becoming “prosumers”, smart devices are proliferating, big data is available for analysis, renewable energy sources are growing, and business models and regulations are adapting.
Combining it all together can help us get to the point where energy flows at the optimal timing, direction and volume. With artificial intelligence algorithms to determine when to produce, consume, store and trade energy, to the cost benefit of the end user, the service provider and the grid operator. With thousands of emerging energy communities, this vision might become clearer and perhaps even the reality, by the year 2023.
Creating the future.
No one knows what the future holds. However, More and more sustainable communities are currently under simulation and the first phase of the pilot is planned for two years, with possibility for extension. With over 100 million electric vehicles predicted by the year 2025, 1 billion prosumers (private and industrial), more than 10 billion smart devices — it’ll be a huge challenge to maintaining reliability and secured supply and grid stability.
These changes require a completely new operating paradigm, and there is no better test for technology than real life. New models are already being applied at various levels in Australia, California, Germany, Austria, Israel and many other countries around the world.
In the USA, for example, by 2025 9% of the entire electricity generation will be generated “behind the meter” — by people’s houses. This figure is translated to $12 billion that won’t flow to the traditional power manufacturers — this change is expected to evolve and spread all over the world.
A perfect example for this is Kibbutz Ma’ale Gilboa in the northern area of Israel. The kibbutz is a microcosm of the future electricity market in the sense that is has all the variety of prosumers types: residential, commercial and industrial, agriculture etc., and it also has all the production capabilities: photovoltaic, wind, pumped storage etc.
Early believers will disrupt the energy market.
Examining the latest UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report shows the tremendous implications of every additional 0.5°C of global warming, and how important it is to accelerate the transition to a carbon-free economy.
I am confident this transition is possible and can be done even faster than expected but it is clear that it will require unprecedented collaboration between countries, companies, organizations and billions of people. I believe we are facing the most complex challenges in the history of our civilization, but if we focus our energy and act together, we will overcome it.
Once again, we are joining Fsight at one of the biggest events in the world for renewable energy. With over 20,000 visitors from around the world, European Utility Week presents an opportunity to meet and share experiences with all energy stakeholders in order to shape a sustainable energy future together.
EUW is the landmark event for the power industry and a precious guide to acclimate ourselves through the energy transition.
Fsight has won last year’s 1st place in Accelerate 2 Initiate! pitch contest held in European Utility Week, and was chosen by E.ON Agile to collaborate on a smart energy pilot. This year, after experiencing significant growth through partnering with notable companies like Schweighofer, Andritz, Uniper, and Verbund - Fsight is looking for more partners to join their growing consortium on the riveting Gilboa Iris Project, which grants DSO’s, VPP’s and C&I companies substantial knowledge pertaining to the viability of an optimized, efficient and sustainably distributed electricity grid.
If you are a part of the energy market and would like to hear more about Fsight’s projects, go here: www.fsight.io
Former Austrian Chancellor Christian Kern, who left office in December 2017, is currently visiting Ma'ale Gilboa, in northern Israel, a religiously observant kibbutz. Kern previously visited Israel as a guest of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, but his current visit is very different. A month ago, he was appointed chairperson of Austrian-Israel startup FSIGHT. His new job entails spending one week each month in Israel in order to supervise FSIGHT's pilot on the kibbutz. Large Israeli and European energy companies are participating in the pilot.
FSIGHT, founded in 2015, currently has 18 employees. It is developing a software platform for smart management of distributed energy grids. The company has raised €7 million since it was founded, and is currently raising €25 million more in a round led by European infrastructure investment fund SPB Beteilgungsverwaltung.
FSIGHT was founded by Amos Lasker, who was CEO of Israel Electric Corporation (IEC) (TASE: ELEC.B22) in 2007-2011, and Eveline Steinberger-Kern, Christian Kern's wife. Steinberger-Kern had a vision, shared by her husband, of developing a comprehensive end-to-end system for smart management of the future energy sector. Israel's energy sector is not particularly advanced, but Steinberger-Kern decided that she wanted Israeli technology, with its global reputation, to realize her vision, and joined forces with Lasker in founding FSIGHT. They decided to locate the pilot in a kibbutz. The owners of FSIGHT are energy investment company Amrav Investments, owned by Lasker and Ram Belinkov; Israeli energy company Triple-M Power Plants; and Austrian energy company The Blue Minds Company (TBMC), owned by Steinberger-Kern, who holds most of the shares in FSIGHT.
Storing energy and selling it to the neighbors
The pilot is testing the platform's ability to manage effectively, reliably, and accurately the consumption and sale of energy in a sector composed of industrial enterprises, residential buildings, and agricultural concerns, such as a kibbutz. Christian Kern told "Globe," "The energy market changes quickly. It will also change in Israel, but the change in Europe and the US is faster. In the future, in addition to buying electricity from the central grid, the consumer will also sell to it. This empowers small consumers and private individuals with solar panels on the roof."
The pilot is for three years. Current participants include Austrian energy companies Verbund and Andritz; Israeli energy companies RD Energy, Dalia, and Wien Energie; Turkish energy company EnerjiSA; and Hungarian company NKM. Each of these companies pays thousands of euros a year for the right to participate in the pilot and market the platform after it is completed.
The electricity sector is currently built from the top down. Electricity is generated in large power stations and is transmitted to consumers. In recent years, however, it was realized that the future energy sector will be decentralized. Consumers will no longer be dependent on large producers; we will all be both producers and consumers. Every household, enterprise, and business will generate electricity from solar panels. If a surplus is accumulated, it will be stored in batteries for future use or sale. When there is a shortage, electricity will be purchased from the central grid or from another small producer.
Before becoming Chancellor of Austria, Christian Kern was a director at Verbund, the largest electric company in Austria, and became CEO of Austrian federal railway company OBB in 2010. He dealt extensively with the energy sector in both positions, and formed a vision for the future, which he now shares with many of the prominent concerns in the energy and electricity sector.
Kern says, "It's very logical to manage electricity consumption so that you sell when it's expensive and buy when it's cheap. Artificial intelligence and deep learning can be applied in the energy sector in a very interesting way in this context." FSIGHT's platform is one example of using such technologies for a smart platform in management of a distributed electric grid. "We have a brilliant team, many of whom worked at Better Place. They achieved a lot in predicting electricity prices, and based on that, are trying to establish a peer-to-peer energy trading systems in the pilot," Kern explains.
FSIGHT CEO Emek Sadot worked in Shai Agassi's Better Place. Until the company's notorious crash, he was a senior manager for batteries, charging systems for electric cars, and smart electricity grids. He says that adoption of a decentralized energy system is only a matter of time. "I always compare it to electric bicycles. Once the product works and the public buys it, things will never be the same. The same thing is about to happen in the electricity sector. Once there is a battery that is economically worthwhile, I'll install it in my home; I won't wait for anyone's approval," he says.
"Every household wants two things: it consumes electricity and it wants to save money. It doesn't matter whether it's a commercial concern, a factor, or a private home. FSIGHT does optimization inside the house, so that the customer can use the cheapest electricity. If the price of electricity rises, the system will accumulate electricity in your battery, and if there's a surplus, it will sell it to your neighbor."
Electricity prices set to fall 20% in the future
These models are already being applied at various levels in Australia, California, and Germany. In Israel, a policy was set in late 2017 allowing factories, residential neighborhoods, military bases, and small businesses to produce electricity independently using natural gas. At the same time, implementation of distributed electricity production does not exist in practice, due among other things to technological difficulties delaying the option of producing electricity on a small scale, storing it in batteries, and managing its sale and purchase from innumerable different sources. Despite these difficulties, the Ministry of National Infrastructure, Energy, and Water Resources and IEC senior executives, like the rest of the world, all agree that production of electricity will be decentralized in the foreseeable future. There is disagreement about how to decentralize the energy sector, such as whether electricity in such a sector will be priced by a central agency or by market forces.
FSIGHT's platform was designed for use in a future electricity sector that does not exist yet. Its implementation in most countries depends on technological and regulatory developments. Kern is aware of the obstacles, but he believes that technology is advancing at a rapid pace, and that the problems will be solved soon. He says, "I'm rather optimistic, because two years ago, the price of a one-kilowatt per hour battery was €2,000; now it has already reached €250. Furthermore, in the batteries sector in Germany and China, the volume of batteries is rising, and this will improve more in the next 10 years. The ability of end-consumers to buy and sell energy will cause a significant drop in the price of electricity. If we take into account what we're doing for our European customers, there will be a 20% drop in prices."
The company's products are already being sold in Austria, Australia, Turkey, Hungary, France, and Israel, where the system is used mainly to optimize consumption. FSIGHT's end-to-end management platform is also being applied in the kibbutz pilot. Another pilot in cooperation with US energy company Solaria is scheduled to begin now in California with a grant from the Israel-United States Binational Industrial Research and Development Foundation (BIRD-F).
Management and optimization of electricity consumption: How does it work?
The platform developed by FSIGHT is designed to optimize electricity consumption in a distributed electric grid. Sadot says, "If households are able to manage this efficiently it will also help the national system, because it will lighten the burden on the central grid." In order to do this automatically, he explains, the system operates on three levels: "The first part is forecasting. For every household, we predict when it will consume electricity and how much, when it will produce electricity and how much, and the price of electricity at any given time" using an artificial intelligence algorithm on the information in every grid.
"The second part, based on the first, is that the system makes automatic decisions about what to do with the energy: it makes sure that at any given time, we get electricity at the lowest price." The system does this through a regular choice between buying energy and self-production and storing the energy.
"In the third layer, there is a trading system. Blockchain also comes in here. We did proof of concept (POC) with two Etherium-based technologies. One is called Tobalaba - a system built by an association called Energy Web Foun, is specially adapted to energy, but it belongs to IBM, which makes it more widely available."
The establishment of blockchain among startups working in the decentralized energy sector is fairly common. Power Ledger, one of the leading companies in the field, operates in Australia, where implementation of the distributed electric grid is most advanced. The company develops an energy trading platform based on blockchain technology, and held an initial coin offering (ICO) to raise money for developing the platform.
In contrast to Power Ledger, FSIGHT develops an end-to-end solution, and uses blockchain only for decentralized trading. FSIGHT does not plan to hold in ICO. At the same time, the decision to use blockchain technology is likely to excite some people and deter others who are fed up with the trend. Seeking to sooth anxieties, Sadot says, "We regard blockchain as a technology that can serve us in distributed trading from many endpoints, not as a goal."
He adds that in the pilot, two blockchain technologies will be evaluated for the purpose of establishing a trading system, together with a third possibility that is not based on blockchain. In the end, the company's pilot will select the technology that proves to be the best.
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on January 24, 2019