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AEP Launches Effort To Incubate Innovations, Technology Related To Customer Behavior, Experience

February 28,2019



American Electric Power has partnered with "innovation specialist" L Marks to launch IlluminationLAB.

"IlluminationLAB, based [sic] Columbus, Ohio, is a strategic initiative designed to identify innovative technology solutions that will drive improved performance and enhance customer experiences in the energy industry," AEP said

"IlluminationLAB is designed to help AEP find promising new technologies and innovative ideas focused in four areas – customer experience; grid optimization; efficiency, operations and maintenance; and electric mobility/electrification," AEP said

L Marks will help AEP identify promising entrepreneurs and early and growth stage companies in the energy sector to apply to participate in the IlluminationLAB program. L Marks is initiating a global talent search for participants today.

If selected for the IlluminationLAB, tech startups will work directly with an AEP mentor and industry experts for 10 weeks to help advance and shape their idea or technology. They will be given access to working space, potential funding and the chance to develop products, platforms and processes that will help AEP expand its technology-driven offerings and processes. In addition, the startups will have the opportunity to further develop their companies alongside leading subject matter experts in the energy sector.

"AEP's IlluminationLAB is designed to combine industry insight and learnings with the perspective and technologies of talented startups from around the world. We are particularly interested in products and solutions focused on renewable energy resources, smart connected devices, customer engagement, predictive analytics and virtual assessments. We want to lead the utility industry in building the future of energy for the benefit of our customers," said Chris Johnson, director, AEP Enterprise Innovation and Technology.

AEP's IlluminationLAB will focus on four key themes, but will consider other creative proposals that don't fit one of the themes:

Customer Experience

Communication with customers and the ability to provide pertinent information that enables customers to make informed energy choices is crucial. AEP is seeking ways to better understand consumer behavior and to provide more proactive, personalized communications that will give customers the information they need to make informed energy decisions.

Grid Optimization

AEP is responsible for managing a huge network of infrastructure designed to provide safe, reliable and affordable service for all customers, to meet peak energy demands, and to enhance use of its infrastructure assets. AEP is seeking new technologies to enhance management and utilization of its energy production and delivery infrastructure, address potential impacts of customers who generate and control their own electricity, and to inexpensively control and shift energy peaks locally, rather than across the entire grid.

Efficiency, Operations and Maintenance

AEP is seeking opportunities to improve efficiency by digitizing traditional processes and also aggregating data from customers, infrastructure and facilities. AEP also is looking for solutions that can provide enhanced and new data from its systems to help inform decisions and investments.

Electric Mobility/Electrification

New infrastructure is needed to support electric mobility including charging, demand management and grid stability. AEP is seeking technology innovations that will help increase the adoption of electric mobility and reduce the costs for the infrastructure needed to support adoption.

Start-ups, entrepreneurs, and businesses interested in learning more and applying for the IlluminationLAB are encouraged to visit aepilluminationlab.com. Applications to participate in the IlluminationLAB will be open until March 24. The most compelling applications will have the opportunity to pitch their ideas to AEP executives and stakeholders May 14, with the cohort starting June 17.

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