Digital Energy: Disruption in the Electrical Energy Market
(9 pages of text)
California-based Silver Spring Networks designed, developed, and deployed the large-scale networking platforms and solutions that enabled the “Internet of Things” to control power grids. In 2010, there was an opportunity for Silver Spring Networks to partner with another start-up that wanted to integrate electric vehicle charging technology with the power grid. At the same time, leading-edge smart city developments—projecting significant savings for utilities and governments—were gaining traction. Both endeavours held significant upside potential and could be used to attract the attention of utilities and other firms, along with state and federal governments and their regulatory commissions. There were signs of disruptive technology innovation, and Silver Springs Networks had to devise a roadmap for entering the market at the right time with the right product in the right sequence.
The case is suitable for an advanced MBA strategy class because it allows students to analyze multiple concepts. It highlights SWOT, PEST, Porter’s five forces, segmentation, competitive analysis, strategic R&D investments, dynamic capabilities, vertical non-integration, and risk diversification. It examines the energy market, the emergence of digital energy and technology innovation, and investment challenges that a start-up faces.
The case demonstrates
- the assessment of market opportunities;
- the identification of organizational strengths;
- the importance of having a global presence;
- the development of a technology innovation road map; and
- the calibration of market entry amidst economic and political factors.
United States, Small, 2010
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