eMeter has announced its partnership with Convergys Corp. to provide real-time rating, billing and data management capabilities to utilities and their customers. The partnership is aimed at evolving current utility billing and customer care systems to enhance the time it takes for utilities and consumers to realize true smart grid value while reducing any potential risks which may arise during deployment.

With the introduction of the smart grid and the technology advancements made to date, utilities are facing challenges with data management and customer engagement. These challenges are not unlike those that the telecommunications industry addressed in its nascent years. Convergys and eMeter together deliver technologies designed to help address the needs of utilities while addressing the concerns of their customers by providing them with clear and relevant information about their personal energy use in a timely manner.

The eMeter/Convergys partnership will provide a holistic approach to smart grid deployment, demonstrating immediate value as new processes and applications are optimized and realized, while legacy processes are discontinued. The combined solution will enable competitive AMI technology evaluations and procurement, and will assist in overall Smart Grid deployment planning. During installation, the combined solution will provide increased access to current and historical smart meter data for better Smart Grid validation and customer usage analytics, while enabling risk-free, automated billing cutover. Once the installation is completed and normal operations begin, utilities and customers will have access to continuous data feeds for billing and account services. The solution will support multiple AMI technologies, eliminating vendor lock-in and enabling utilities to adopt the latest and greatest products and technologies. Utilities will be able to add systems and capabilities as needed, along with value-added applications and services to consumers, eliminating the "rip-and-replace" approach. A single customer relationship management system will support a real-time multichannel environment, providing full visibility of data and interactions, with a single, fully intelligent system which supports all service activities and uses customer preferences and predictive analytics to perform "next best action" recommendations. Finally, the optimized meter data management-to-customer information systems relationship enables scalability and limits required forecasts, providing the correct balance between data management and rating functionalities.