Can big data lead to smarter customer engagement? That’s the question pondered by Jasper Schneider, NISC’s Vice President of Member & Industry, during a panel at Touchstone Energy’s 2018 New and Emerging Technologies (NET) Conference. Schneider joined John Lee, Customer Engineer at Google Cloud, to lead a panel called “Big Data. Smart Engagement?” on Monday, Feb. 5 at the NET Conference in St. Petersberg, Fla. Schneider and Lee discussed how big data, along with smarter analytics, can lead to more efficient and effective customer service. From new tools to simply understanding consumers better, big data is revolutionizing how organizations operate, leading to smarter and more nimble operations focused on consumer value and satisfaction. “Big data is a movement from documentation to discovery,” Schneider said. “We have been in information silos. When you put them together and start connecting the dots, that’s when the possibilities unfold.” Schneider said Members’ are increasingly becoming more engaged and interested in their own energy usage, which is helping to drive NISC’s solution development. “Electric cooperatives are generating greater volumes of data, largely through AMI devices,” Schneider said. “We’re seeing our Members begin to embrace the use of big data. This is a big driver of how NISC develops tools to help its members make the most of their data resources.” Touchstone Energy’s annual NET Conference showcases innovation and provides evolving perspectives on industry issues, along with emerging technologies that can help take co-ops and other businesses into the future.
There is no doubt that access to a high-speed internet connection has become essential infrastructure. Broadband enables the social and economic vitality of rural America, the service areas of so many of our telecom and utility Members. For the past 50 years, NISC has had the good fortune to operate in each of these industries. As their technology partner, NISC is pleased to help both industries grow and evolve to meet the changing times and end-user expectations. Our many telecom Members have done an excellent job providing telecommunications services, and earlier this year, we partnered with NTCA The Rural Broadband Association to help promote partnerships to continue meeting the broadband needs. We have also seen an acceleration of our utility Members starting to deploy fiber for smart grid and substation communications. Many have also expanded into broadband services for under-served areas in their service territories. Today we are pleased to be announcing iVUE Connect® Service, with broadband functionality for utilities that are offering broadband services. iVUE Connect Service offers a contemporary interface that provides utilities the ability to utilize a single system to bill for broadband, manage customer requests, and seamlessly provision services in one application. In November 2017, United Fiber in Savannah, Mo., launched iVUE Connect Service. Before launching this new solution, United's customer service representatives (CSR) had to provision triple-play services manually. With iVUE Connect Service, that all changed. Click here to learn more.
Cars that you plug in. Cars that receive their updates not at a car garage, but through an over-the-air update. Cars that are sold through direct sales, not on car lots. All of this is the reality for Tesla, an American automaker, energy storage company and solar panel manufacturer. Tesla is also a disrupter of the automotive industry. Tesla CTO JB Straubel spoke today at the National Rural Utilities Cooperative Finance Corporation (CFC) IBES 2017 conference, held Nov. 12-15 in San Francisco, California. Following the presentation, NISC President and CEO Vern Dosch joined Straubel onstage for a Q&A session. Straubel shared his thoughts on the growing demand for affordable electric cars, and Tesla’s mission to develop strong relationships with electric utilities across the country who have a proven track record of providing great service to their customers. As consumers have gained considerable power when it comes to making purchasing decisions, the demand has grown for smart, reliable energy choices. Gone are the days of few options as consumers now have the ability to easily research and learn where their power is sourced from and the choices they have when it comes to investing in companies. As a technology cooperative, NISC strives to stay ahead of these industry changes, and ensure its Members have the resources they need to meet their customers’ expectations. From solar panels to Nest thermostats – consumers are eager for the latest and greatest in energy usage, and NISC is proud to be a champion of that desire. Dosch discussed the evolution of the engaged consumer: those who are doing their research and seeking out new opportunities and options when it comes to power and electric usage. He explained how cooperatives are [...]
The need for broadband in all reaches of the country is real. It is becoming a necessity for residents in rural areas and critical to their quality of life, not to mention the impact it can have economically. The NISC staff traveled to Atlanta, Ga. this week to participate in Broadband Communities Magazine’s Economic Development Conference to discuss how we can all join together to build out broadband and maximize potential benefits. NISC’s Vice President of Member and Industry Jasper Schneider led a panel at the conference called “Partners on the Road to Rural Broadband” and was joined by panelists Kevin Larson, CEO/General Manager of Consolidated Telephone Co., Jeremy Nelms, P.E. – Director of Economic Development, Blue Ridge Mountain Electric Membership Corporation, and Hilda Legg, Vice Chairman of Broadband Communities. The panel discussed their experiences, successes and challenges of partnering to bring broadband to underserved areas. NISC wants to help empower this initiative however we can. This summer NISC joined forces with NTCA – The Rural Broadband Association, NRTC and National Rural Utilities Cooperative Finance Corp. and developed a new site, www.PartnersInBroadband.com, to match electric cooperatives, utilities and municipalities with nearby partners experienced in telecommunications. Together, their goal is to evaluate options to address the broadband gap and promote partnerships wherever possible. Let’s strengthen our communities by building broadband together.
Technology can be a driver of many things, one of which is enhancing connections. Whether it’s family members staying in touch via social media or a customer paying their utility bill, technology can be a connecting bridge. This was the message that NISC’s Vice President of Member and Industry, Jasper Schneider, brought to the American Public Power Association’s Customer Connections Conference, held Nov. 5-8 in Sacramento, Calif. In a session titled, “Engaging Customers through Data and Technology,” Schneider provided examples of how technology can help municipalities and other public power entities enhance their connection with their customers. As NISC’s connection with public power increases, the organization is gaining a better understanding of how technology can help build these bridges from provider to customer and the solutions that will drive the future. NISC is excited to continue working on solutions with APPA and public power providers across all 50 states in the USA.
This past August and September, the hurricane season reared its head with full force as residents in Texas and Florida braced for Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. The aftermath left much devastation, with many residents displaced and others who lost everything. Seeing the despair and wanting to truly live by the Cooperative Principles of “Cooperation Among Cooperatives” and “Concern for Community”, NISC and iGEAR teamed up to do what we could to help. Together, we created Co-op Strong t-shirts for both Texas and Florida, encouraging NISC employees, Members and friends to purchase shirts for hurricane relief. One hundred percent of the proceeds went towards relief efforts, and NISC also gifted hundreds of shirts to our Members in the affected areas. Although a small act, it has since blossomed into a #CoopStrong movement, as we aim to show our support and solidarity for all affected by the devastation. With shirts available for purchase online, in our offices and at the 2017 MIC, so far more than $40,000 dollars have been raised for hurricane relief. Thank you to all of our Members and employees for your help in this effort, and for your dedication to helping our Members in Texas and Florida during this time of rebuilding and recovery. Still want to buy a shirt? Co-op Strong shirts will be available for purchase until Wednesday, November 1 in the online store, coopstrong.coop. Thank you!
Technology cooperative welcomes Butler Electric Company into its Membership Lake Saint Louis, Mo., October 12, 2017 — National Information Solutions Cooperative® (NISC), a leading provider of software solutions and services for utility and telecommunications organizations worldwide, is excited to announce it will now provide software services in all 50 states in the United States after signing its newest Member, Butler Electric Company, based out of New Jersey. The largest software cooperative in the country, NISC serves more than 820 electric utilities and telecommunications companies across the U.S., Canada, American Samoa and Palau. "True to name, we are National and NISC is pleased to welcome Butler into our membership," said Jasper Schneider, NISC Vice President of Member & Industry. "Our partnership with Butler marks our presence in all 50 states, but also marks significant progress toward serving municipals and the public power sector. We are pleased to expand our services into this market." Butler Electric Company is operated by the Borough of Butler in New Jersey and serves approximately 12,000 customers in Kinnelon, Bloomingdale, Butler and small portions of West Milford and Riverdale. The Borough has continuously operated the electric utility since the early 1900s, and today Butler Electric Company is a $30 million operation. In 2012, Butler invested in Aclara TWACS® Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) and soon realized that in order to take full advantage of AMI data, they also needed to deploy robust customer care and billing solutions that are fully integrated with work management, meter data management and outage management solutions. NISC's iVUE Enterprise System, along with other NISC mobile and data-management solutions, are able to provide an integrated system paired with a proven track record of working with Aclara's TWACS AMI. "We [...]
St. Louis, Mo., September 28, 2017 — National Information Solutions Cooperative (NISC®), a leading provider of technology solutions to utility and telecommunications organizations worldwide, hosted its annual Member Information Conference (MIC) in St. Louis, Mo. More than 2,300 attended the event, which was held September 26-28. The IT cooperative’s annual event draws users from all over the continental U.S., Hawaii, Alaska and Canada. With more than 180 learning sessions ranging from Accounting to Billing to Engineering, the MIC is NISC’s premier learning event. Traditionally the MIC has been held over two weeks, but this year, the MIC was streamlined into one. The new format allowed for three keynote speakers, including NISC President and CEO Vern Dosch, CIA Director (2013 – 2017) John Brennan and Global Marketing Expert David Seda. Industry Enterprise Sessions were also hosted by the NISC Executive Team, focusing on industry trends and challenges and how to increase operational efficiencies while reducing costs with NISC’s solutions. "What defines NISC is our service to our Members and spirit of innovation, and the MIC is our way to demonstrate both," said Jasper Schneider, Vice President Member & Industry. The NISC Board of Directors also hosted a Board Meeting during the event. Normal business operations were discussed as well as the approval of new Members of the IT cooperative. At this meeting, the NISC Board approved a new Member from New Jersey, and with that approval, made NISC software now present in all fifty states. "I always marvel at the NISC Membership’s dedication to service," said Vern Dosch, NISC President and CEO. "We keep that in mind when we develop our solutions, so Members can continue to provide that reliable, dedicated service for years to come." [...]
St. Louis, Mo., September 28, 2017 — National Information Solutions Cooperative (NISC®), a leading provider of technology solutions to utility and telecommunications organizations worldwide, announced engagement solutions for both utilities and telecoms, focused on empowering Members to connect with their customers in new and innovative ways. "As technology rapidly evolves, so too should Members' approach in providing their customers with the services and tools necessary to meet their growing needs," said Valerie Kniffen, Engagement Lead at NISC. "NISC offers a wealth of solutions to assist Members in developing efficient and effective operations keeping the customer in mind." With engagement tools such as Messenger, SmartHub Marketing, iVUE AppSuite and CalltoOrder, NISC's solutions provide options to strengthen customer relationships thoughtfully and intentionally, not only through electronic communications, but through a variety of processes and functions. NISC is also unveiling a newly redesigned, easy-to-use Community, which is NISC’s internal online community for Members and employees. Members can also now explore new possibilities in printing and customizing bills with the help of iVUE Automated Mailroom Services (AMS). AMS allows Members to create visually appealing printed statements, notices and letters and mail them to end-users at the lowest possible first-class postage rate. "Working with NISC's AMS department in creating a new bill for our partners was a truly enjoyable experience," said Kaye Bernard, Chief Operating Officer at MiEnergy in Rushford, MN. "There were many ideas to pull from; our merged co-op created a full-color presentment opportunity to create more information for our account." About NISC National Information Solutions Cooperative (NISC) is an information technology organization that develops, implements and supports software and hardware solutions for our Members/Customers. We deliver advanced solutions, services and support to more than 820 independent telephone [...]
IT Cooperative’s Board of Directors, Employees and Local Dignitaries Gather to Dedicate the $7.5 Million Expansion Mandan, N.D., June 22, 2017 — National Information Solutions Cooperative (NISC), a leading provider of technology solutions for utility and telecommunications organizations worldwide, officially dedicated the Mandan campus' newest administration building on July 21, 2017. This expansion accommodates the current and projected growth of the IT cooperative as well as connects all buildings on the campus. "It's an exciting time to be a part of rural America in the telecom and electric industries," said Reginal Rudolph, Vice Chairman of the NISC Board of Directors. "For over 50 years, NISC has called Mandan home. With the dedication of the building today, we continue to affirm our presence and commitment to our employees, our Members, and to the great state of North Dakota." The dedication was marked by speeches given by Vern Dosch, NISC President and CEO, and Rudolph, who is also the General Manager of San Isabel Electric Association in West Pueblo, Colorado and a native of Flasher, N.D. The event was attended by many NISC Mandan employees and members of the Bismarck-Mandan community. The Mandan office, one of four NISC campuses in the United States, has served as the North Dakota campus of the technology cooperative since 1966 and is home to more than 400 employees. The Mandan facility expanded by 33,000 square feet in an effort to accommodate the demands of a growing organization, offering additional office space, meeting rooms, a dining facility and fitness center. "I'm very grateful for the Bismarck-Mandan community and to those representing Bismarck, Mandan, the Chamber of Commerce, and Bismarck-Mandan Development Association," said Dosch. "You have allowed us to grow in this place [...]