ENGIE uses technology and innovation to optimize its solutions and showcase them to a broader range of clients.
We discussed Kuwait’s transformation toward a zero-carbon future, but I wanted to put that discussion in the context of the pandemic. How is this unprecedented event impacting progress toward decarbonization efforts?
For one, this has given ENGIE an opportunity to allow its engineers access to operational sites that run 24/7. For example, under normal circumstances, it is quite hard for our engineers to get access to assets such as chillers in hotels and hospitals. Now, we have the chance to access those vital components and make some changes. The current situation also demonstrates to the client exactly how much energy they use at full capacity. This has helped us to uncover new insights and trends.
Have you seen increased interest from the public sector in your value-added services?
Currently, we have most of our businesses in the private sector. ENGIE is a major global group that is financially stable and has the resilience to come through this stronger than some of its local competitors. This puts us in a good position to pick up extra work within the public sector. One segment in which we have not seen any real downturn or major impact is data centers. Even the private hospitals that we currently look after in Kuwait have had to diversify. A broad spectrum of our key clients, from hospitals to hospitality and shopping malls, have been affected in different ways. The least affected has been the technology sector. We have also seen quite an increase in demand for sanitation services, for obvious reasons.
Considering the ICT sector has been the least impacted thus far, do you foresee reinvigorated progress toward digital transformation and energy efficiency solutions?
Innovation and technology can be a little bit of a slow burner here in Kuwait. But this depends on what you define as innovation. How the West looks at innovation can be different than how it is looked at in the Middle East. What I would say is that COVID-19 certainly emphasizes how technology and some of the processes that ENGIE offers can be beneficial. Within ENGIE, we use technology and innovation, particularly through data and KPIS, to really optimize our solutions. This situation has created a window of opportunity for us. For our current and potential clients, it really highlights our KPI business model, where we utilize technology and demonstrate efficiencies around energy. COVID-19 has provided an ultra-magnifying glass and allowed us to showcase how much our clients are able to save during this downturn in energy use. We are getting them to think outside of the box and use our energy engineers or office management structure. These are the potential real savings that are genuinely there. From that perspective, the pandemic is creating fresh opportunities for us.
How is this increased awareness translating into higher demand for your services?
The vast majority of our clients in Kuwait, because of a reduction in profits, have requested an equal amount in cost reduction solutions from us. We are working hand-in-hand to help them with that. COVID-19 has opened the door in that regard and facilitated our ability to demonstrate that the savings are genuinely there.
How do you see things developing in the region and potentially Kuwait’s ability to lead the recovery?
The GCC has a unique economy. I hope that the effects of the pandemic on the healthcare sector and the economy will not go on for much longer. Within the GCC, we are heavily reliant on expats and the free movement of expats. So, the longer countries and airports are locked down, the bigger the negative economic impacts, certainly in Kuwait. As we look to come out of lockdown, it is worth noting that Kuwait did act swiftly, in a way that puts it ahead of the curve. Kuwait’s economy is quite resilient and I hope it will bounce back quickly.
“As we look to come out of lockdown, it is worth noting that
in a way that puts it ahead of the curve.”