It was a whirlwind week as NISC descended upon two major cities for NRECA’s TechAdvantage Conference in Nashville, Tenn., and NTCA’s RTIME Conference in Austin, Texas. We hosted two Annual Meetings in the span of just over 24 hours and constructed booths at both expos to visit with utility and telecom Members attending both shows. It was a great week of relationship building and celebrations surrounding our 50th anniversary. We kicked off the week with our Utility Annual Meeting at Nashville’s Music City Center on Sunday. Over 800 NISC Members joined us for lunch as the Executive Board announced last year’s election results and Vern shared his thoughts on NISC’s past, present and future. We were also pleased to have NRECA CEO Jim Matheson and NRECA International Senior Vice President Dan Waddle join us onstage as we presented NRECA International with a check for $25,000 as part of our Giving 50@50 campaign. Last Monday, we held our Telecom Annual Meeting at the Austin Convention Center with over 130 Members in attendance. It was great visiting with our telecom Members face to face, and sharing in our 50th celebrations with them. We also had an opportunity to present a check for $25,000 to Foundation for Rural Service (FRS) at NTCA’s RTIME Closing Session on Wednesday. In conjunction with our annual meetings, we also had an opportunity to visit with Members and prospects at the NISC booth at both the TechAdvantage and RTIME expos. The expos were a great opportunity for our RBMs and Sales Managers to connect with Members and visitors on NISC’s latest solutions and product offerings. We were excited this year to focus on advancements with Cybersecurity Services, iVUE Connect and our broadband initiative [...]
A technology cooperative reaching 50 years is an accomplishment that not only requires commitment and hard work, but the support and help of others along the way. To recognize and give back to the industries that helped NISC hit this tremendous milestone, the IT cooperative and its employees came together to raise funds for NRECA International and the Foundation for Rural Service (FRS). Together, NISC employees raised $25,000, which was then matched by NISC for a total of $50,000. These funds were split between FRS and NRECA International and presented to them during the 2018 NRECA TechAdvantage Expo in Nashville, Tenn., and the 2018 RTIME Meeting & Expo in Austin, Texas. "We wanted to recognize and give back to the industries who have given so much to us," said Jasper Schneider, NISC Vice President of Member & Industry. "Our employees came together to raise funds for two exemplary organizations who have played a key role in the advancement of the cooperative business model." NRECA International builds sustainable rural electrification programs across the globe, improving education, healthcare, safety and economic opportunity for millions of people. Over the past 55 years, they have brought electricity to more than 120 million people in 43 developing countries, and more than 300 NRECA-member cooperatives have contributed time and resources to rural communities served by NRECA International projects. FRS provides support and resources to rural telecom companies, communities and policymakers. Their mission revolves around sustaining and enhancing the quality of life in America by advancing a better understanding of rural issues. They also have a strong focus on providing educational achievement opportunities for rural youth, encouraging them to build up their communities. For more on NISC’s 50th anniversary, please visit nisc50.coop [...]
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.
Earlier this month, NRECA hosted their annual CEO Close-Up Conference in Palm Desert, Ca., bringing together hundreds of CEOs/General Managers and industry partners to collaborate and discuss key areas of concern for electric cooperatives across the country. It was a great week of leadership and insight, with many innovative ideas shared.
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.
As NISC prepares to celebrate its 50th birthday next year, we will kick off a series of celebrations by what co-ops do best: Helping our communities - at home and abroad. Nearly four months ago, we launched our Giving 50@50 campaign in conjunction with our upcoming 50th Anniversary celebration. We have been blown away by the response from employees, and are proud to announce we are nearing our goal of raising $25,000! NISC’s Board of Directors will match that donation, for a total impact of $50,000. On November 2, we welcomed Jessica Golden, executive director of Foundation for Rural Service to our office in Missouri. Jessica spoke to our employees on the importance of rural America and how the advancements in broadband and technology have helped strengthen rural communities. Jessica also shared how telemedicine is drastically changing healthcare for citizens living in rural areas. Dedicated to providing educational resources and enhancing the lives of rural Americans, FRS uses funds to provide grants to rural communities and scholarships for rural youth. Oftentimes, receiving a scholarship can be the deciding factor in whether students are able to afford college. Making those phone calls to the recipients is one of Jessica’s favorite things about FRS. To view Jessica's presentation in its entirety, please click here. This past summer, employees also had an opportunity to hear from Ingrid Hunsicker, Senior Program Manager for NRECA International, in our North Dakota office. NRECA International strives to provide safe and reliable electricity in developing countries, promoting the power of the cooperative business model. Over the last 55 years, the program has brought electricity to millions of people, greatly improving their economies and way of life. And not only have these efforts affected [...]
One important tool for someone serving in the military is their rucksack. For NISC’s Bill Hanks, preparing for military deployment with his reserve unit this month has made it feel like he’s carrying a rucksack full of boulders.