Welcome to the Adaptive Podcast, a podcast that inspires industry leaders to leverage technology and new ideas to learn how to adapt, grow their businesses, and create better organizations! In each episode, host Jeremy Miller, a marketer with GE Appliances and student of business and innovation, talks with technologists, engineers, and business leaders about how their experiences have shaped their mindsets. In this particular episode, he speaks with former colleague and current Vice President of Software Products at Aclara, Frank Brooks Jr.
The conversations begins with a bit of background, as Frank shares about his role at Aclara and his origins in the field. Currently, he owns the company’s ecosystem of software products and concentrates on providing users with the analytics that may be of interest to them. Prior to that, he has worked throughout the energy sector in roles with industries such as power plants, oil and gas.
Jeremy asks Frank to share his latest observations in the current market given the recent hack of government infrastructure. According to Jeremy, the first concern is in making sure information can flow from a meter to the utility’s billing system. Aclara protects their data through encryption and using a private network. The other concern is in protecting the personal data of their customers. He says a big reason why companies are prime for hacker attacks is when software systems aren’t regularly updated.
They discuss new innovations in the energy space in the last 10 years. Frank shares a common thread he has noticed among people in leadership positions in regards to choosing specific areas which will generate the most impact. It’s rather helpful to think of things in bit-size chunks rather approach the entire issue at hand all at once. This ensures that the project at hand is organic, self sustaining and will persist if it is right.
Jeremy then brings up the topic of the future of the industry and whether any major milestones have been met. The problem, Frank says, is that the process tends to become interrupted after data is collected. To overcome this hurdle, real-time solutions must be at hand. Discussing Artificial Intelligence, they bring uo the fact that a company like Netflix couldn’t exist without it, which Frank says will become even more common moving forward. Until the utility industry has no choice but to adapt, the process will be slow. Additionally, companies have to weigh the risk and reward of adopting new software.
As the conversation comes to a close, Frank recommends some resources for someone who is interested in learning more about the field. Finally, he offers his advice for companies looking for their next product to best serve their customers. First, he says, consider the ‘why’s’, then move to figuring out what the actual problem is and how to get to the bottom of it.