After the success Mobile Experience Center initiative had with educating consumers about the advantages of smart grid technology, Oncor wanted to develop an experience targeted more toward lawmakers and regulators. We recommended establishing a permanent exhibit structure near Austin.
The entrance lobby includes small exhibits highlighting the history of electricity delivery grids along ramps leading to the second-floor theater. The space also doubles as a venue for receptions and galas.
The main experience begins in a theater where presenters – aided by interactive wall screens – share details about the challenges Oncor faces when serving their constituents. This background information serves as the foundation for the rest of the experience.
Following the introductory presentation, the wall screens open to reveal a balcony overlooking a full-size town block. Participants receive an iPad allowing them to tailor a situation that stresses the electricity grid – think SimCity on steroids. For example, a record heat wave could prompt rolling brownouts, or a severe storm could disrupt power lines. As the simulation progresses, participants would see the actual equipment in action and how it affects the town as a whole.
In addition to adding to the joy of the experience, the iPad serves two other purposes. First, it allows participants to create a simulation very close to one their constituents might experience. Second, it can unearth additional motivators and concerns that presenters can then address throughout the rest of the experience.
Following the simulation, presenters bring participants into the town, where each building is also itself an exhibit. If a healthcare regulator wants to see what happens to a patient receiving oxygen during a brownout, particular rooms in a home can be exempted while the rest of the house and neighborhood goes dark.
The combination of overview simulations and in-building exhibits allows presenters to create highly targeted experiences that put participants into their constituents' lives at the very root level.