Within stage 2 Project CLoCC has developed a Customer Connections Portal Prototype.
This leaves the question – what is a prototype? The connection portal prototype is a model of the final product. It’s an interactive imitation that mocks live functionality whilst allowing us to make sure the flow of information is smooth and consistent. By getting customer feedback on these aspects of the product at this stage in development we can make sure the final build is exactly what they need.
Prototypes breathe life into any early designs and offer insight in to the user’s interaction and journey. It allows us to test the practicality and usability of our early designs before we start wiring everything up. This can lead to unexpected discoveries and innovations during a stage of development that still encourages exploration and changes – making sure we don’t have to turn around and do major changes once the main construction work has already started.
It’s important to note that the prototype is not a full picture of what the final product will offer or even look like. As the prototype is sent out to respective parties, the final design stage will be kicked off to properly integrate any feedback that is sent back.
In the connection portal prototype we have tried to take the existing A2O process and re-visit it with a modern, technical mind-set. We want to minimise the amount of information and commitment required from customers before giving them indicative offers. We hope this will empower them to make the correct decisions when continuing on to either an initial or full connection offer.
The prototype also shows the new generic connection types that have been developed parallel to this portal as part of Project CLoCC. By taking the customer’s technical parameters we are able to build up a connection scenario that takes in to account all of our existing knowledge about the NTS pipeline, the existing connection sites, and the requirements of the customer’s own site. All of this together allows us to paint a picture of what the customer requires, and the kind of cost that will be involved in creating that.
As part of the Ofgem deliverable scope of works we achieved the required functionality with the prototype as follows;
- Allow the portal to be tested, challenged and reviewed to ensure the tool provides the required customer interface and functionality defined by the project.
- Identify the nearest high pressure pipelines and other infrastructures.
- Demonstration the high level network analysis for that pipeline, identifying if there is sufficient capacity.
- Display an estimated budget price.
- Allow the proto type to be challenged and reviewed by stakeholders and gather feedback.
- Presentation mock-up of customer reporting structure and visuals.
We will be inviting our stakeholders to visit our site and test out this functionality throughout the year.