Industry trends... 2020 and beyond

IPD Group Limited

Monday, 13 January, 2020

Industry trends... 2020 and beyond

What key trends will have an impact on the growth of your industry in 2020?

Growing public awareness of environmental footprints is set to further accelerate change in our industry for the better. With ‘dirty’ and ‘clean’ energy now part of our vocabulary, demand exists for more solutions catering to end users’ preferences of clean technology wherever possible. We see this shift in attitude as a driver of growth as we further align our solutions portfolio to match the trend.

Australia’s energy crisis has led to greater demands of the industry, but we’re also hearing of more end users taking greater individual responsibility of their power usage for better cost and environmental outcomes. To respond to this thinking, we educate customers and industry around the need for energy monitoring technology to ultimately minimise consumption, and offer a substantial and scalable range of solutions featuring highly connected and configurable IoT devices capable of delivering granular yet accessible energy insights.

What are the three biggest challenges facing your industry in 2020?

We suffer from an energy policy vacuum on a federal level. Mixed messaging has led to lots of uncertainty, hindering our ability to guarantee cost-effective energy solutions for end users that also generate environmentally sound results at the highest level possible. A lack of government incentives (successfully implemented abroad) has also dampened demand for these solutions.

The industry is also facing headwinds in the labour market. We have a need for skilled specialists who can work with our partners to drive results in the power distribution market, but the breadth of talent isn’t where we’d like it to be at the moment, with much of these skills already absorbed by significant long-term projects including major road and rail upgrades.

We’d welcome greater focus on the rollout of public electrical infrastructure to ensure our readiness for next-generation technology, of which there’s already significant public appetite. For example, widespread adoption of electric vehicles (EV) in Australia still faces significant hurdles because of insufficient charging infrastructure; we’re simply unable to accommodate much greater uptake of EVs. This is an area around which we expect change, and are actively working with a number of leading international partners to bring solutions to the table when the environment is more favourable.

What is your industry doing to attract, upskill and retain talent?

Capable and driven people are at the heart of our business, and we believe the value we place on them and their contributions goes a long way in sourcing similarly high-calibre talent, as well as maintaining our reputation as an employer of choice.

We do this through a multi-tiered approach featuring programs that develop and support individuals as well as their aspirations, help them align with the DNA of our organisation and place a priority on promoting from within to reward excellent contributions to the firm.

How is your business planning to help Australia meet the 2030 climate change targets?

Meaningful action on climate change (with reaching official targets being just one element within a broader picture) is now being driven by the private sector and households. To reflect our collaborative approach, we continue to build upon an already broad suite of energy-saving solutions and knowledge-sharing platforms to help our partners maximise the efficiency our end users expect.

We’re committed to the use of solar and photovoltaic (PV) technology, offering various balance of system (BOS) solutions which allow clients to use PV to its full capacity. We are also proud to act as the Australian distributor for Socomec’s impressive power monitoring portfolio in this space. In switchgear and power distribution, we represent ABB and their products featuring built-in smart capability for use with BMS and standard systems, which allow end users greater visibility and interrogation of energy-usage insights.

Closer to home, we make use of minimal and environmentally friendly packaging for the products that leave our premises and are seriously considering EV solutions for our staff that spend time on the road.

To assist our partners on the national level, our experts conduct technical seminars promoting the environmental benefits of our new solutions and educate them on how their portfolio can assist in achieving NABERS compliance and Green Star-friendly status.

Michael Sainsbury is Chief Executive Officer of IPD Group Ltd and a member of the company’s board of directors. He joined IPD in 2013, bringing more than 15 years of technology-based industry leadership, electrical solutions and power monitoring expertise, and senior management experience to his role.

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