Digitalisation starts with an analogue step

12.06.2018

The reading of energy consumption is changing rapidly. While the meter reader used to come into the apartment, today meters are read digitally in most cases. At ista, the Task Force team provides support with its specialists to ensure that the changeover from analogue to digital runs smoothly. We visited the team in Kassel and they explained to us what they do every day and why what they do is beneficial for landlord and tenant alike.

Claus Mengel, team leader and at ista since 1999, is responsible for the 18-strong team. “We have all been here for years and have a broad range of expertise,” Mengel says. “Each one of us has their own special field.” Based in the Service Center Kassel, his team helps to support the branches with the various operational processes. Part of their work is to adapt the service to new technologies and therefore improve it for tenants and landlords. “Digitalisation changes everything and that naturally includes the meter reading processes,” Mengel says. “We see this as an opportunity to make heating cost billing even better and make the procedure for achieving this even more convenient for tenants and landlords. And all that as fast and flexibly as possible.”

Digitalisation moves in

Task-Force employee Vitali Krasinski
The specialist, Vitali Krasinski, always has his eye on the customer.

What that means exactly becomes clear when you look over the shoulders of Mengel and his team. Tenants and landlords should not have to wait for their inquiries to be processed. Nowadays, that has to happen quickly but, of course, not at the expense of quality. The ista specialists in Kassel therefore tackle problems that the individual branches cannot solve themselves. Vitali Krasinski is also a member of the team. His desk is neat and tidy – two monitors, a few memos and a telephone but no printouts. “We work almost entirely digitally here,” the specialist says, while lots of number sequences flicker on his screen. Suddenly the phone rings. “The tenant wanted to know when exactly the radio technology in his apartment will be activated,” Krasinski says after he hangs up. “I told him that this would happen as soon as the entire building had been equipped with the technology.” The radio transmitters are quickly incorporated into the system directly after installation. From then on, everything runs digitally. The result is that life is a lot easier for the residents and owners when it comes to meter reading processes or questions about heating cost billing. They no longer have to make appointments, take a day off or ask their neighbour to open the door for the meter reader. Nevertheless, everyone receives their own consumption-dependent bill thanks to digital technology. Waiting times are a thing of the past.

24,000,000 devices by 2021

The office of the ista Task-Force
The Service Center Kassel supports branches with the radio campaign and other projects.

The figures for this are impressive: 97,000 properties in Germany already have ista meters which are read digitally. By 2021 that figure is to have risen to 80% of all properties we look after. Roughly another 24 million devices have to be replaced in the properties to reach this target. “That sounds a lot but it is feasible,” says Julian Corona, who, together with his team, coordinates the nationwide digitalisation process from the ista head office in Essen and therefore works closely with his colleagues in Kassel.

At the end of our visit to Kassel, one thing is clear: digitalisation of heating cost billing is also in full swing. But it takes not only specialists like the team headed by Claus Mengel but also the cooperation of the tenants. For in order to fully digitalise heating cost billing, the technicians have to enter the apartments once again. Quite simply, the switch to digital technology can only start with an analogue step on site.