The City of Kitchener in Ontario awarded a contract to IT consultancy firm Capgemini Canada to help maintain and operate its new customer engagement technology.Under the deal, the consultancy firm will integrate and monitor the city's commissioned SAP Customer Information System (CIS) to help address customer demands.
The system is expected will help improve Kitchener's revenue collection from its property rentals, gas, storm water, and water consumers through simplified and automated billing management.
In a press statement, Capgemini Canada said it was selected as a partner in the rollout of the programme due to its extensive knowledge of the SAP CIS which includes the Customer Relationship Management and Billing for utilities.
[quote] Dan Chapman, Deputy Chief Administrative Officer for the City of Kitchener said the city’s” success is contingent on managing, aggregating and sharing relevant data and information that leads to more informed decision making for our utilities operators and employees, and more importantly, our citizens.
“That starts with revolutionizing our customer information systems, the heartbeat of our operation," added Chapman.
The Canadian city will use the software which is said to be capable of leveraging the management of over 1 million system transactions annually, to support its 72,000 property tax and 80,000 utility accounts for the gas, water, sewer, storm water and rental water heaters.
Brad Little, Corporate vice president of energy and utilities for Capgemini in North America reiterated that: "Municipalities are challenged to improve billing processes, which only increases as IT systems age and consumers demand new information about their consumption and conservation opportunities."
Smart grid development
The news follows an early February announcement by smart solutions provider Siemens that it partnered with power utility New Brunswick Power (NB Power) and the University of New Brunswick (UNB) to support the development of smart grids.
The collaboration saw the launch of the Smart Grid Innovation Network (SGIN) in Fredericton.
According to Siemens, the SGIN will provide a platform for businesses to design, develop and test smart grid-related products and services. [Canada’s Power Stream trials customer dynamic pricing pilot]
The SGIN will assist developers to further develop and market smart grid technology for implementation on a global scale.
Research, development and testing of new smart grid concepts will be held under the Smart Grid Research Lab at UNB whilst the Interoperability Lab at Siemens will allow conduction of R&D and allow vendors to test interoperability of various smart grid services.
Products and Services Lab at NB Power will conduct R&D, utility grid interoperability testing, and support acceptance testing by validating product requirements and compliance readiness.
SGIN will host workshops to allow interaction between local and global companies for developed smart grid technology demonstration.
Siemens announced it will invest more than US$1m CAD while NB Power expects to invest US$2 million and UNB will invest US$2 million in cash.
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