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No. 3

inside International Staff Newspaper


Go for energy! Page 2: Where is the journey heading? Optimally positioned for the future.

The starting gun for GENEK GmbH & Co. KG, the company for energy procurement, sounded at the end of August with its entry in the commercial register. GENEK combines energy supply with smart metering technology. With the establishment of this company, ista is systematically taking the next step in its strategic realignment and joining the ranks of the energy suppliers. GENEK’s range of services covers energy procurement and supply including smart metering. In addition to ista, the shareholders will be selected companies from the real estate industry.


Page 3: Customer Retention Index (CRI). New development of the customer survey.

Page 4: Roll-out fumonic 3. ista launches its own device on the market.

Page7: Country portrait Norway. ista in the land of the fjords.

he background: Since October 2010, the operation of metering points has been liberalised by law* in Germany. However, the installation of smart meters is still more an exception rather than daily reality. The reason for this is that neither the energy industry nor the consumer is prepared to bear the higher costs for smart meters. Parallel to this, the energy market shows little willingness to change among consumers, especially in the gas sector. This enables the established energy suppliers still to generate a good income. These conditions made ista decide to join the players in the energy market. And with an innovative concept: GENEK combines energy procurement with smart metering technology and, for ista, it is the entrance ticket to the smart metering market. Selected real estate companies with more than 5,000 apartments can, in future, become shareholders of GENEK. That creates a sound customer base and is so far unique in the market. A concept that makes sense Peter Ruwe, CSO of ista Germany and managing director of GENEK, describes the new field of business: “With GENEK we are entering unknown sales territory. We are extending our portfolio to include energy supply combined with smart metering and so we can participate in the energy supply value chain in Germany.” ista and the housing industry are working hand in hand. The model creates many advantages: The shareholders ensure high volumes of business, and GENEK, in comparison with other energy suppliers, has considerably lower structure costs, e.g. for sales. Moreover, GENEK relies on the know-how of existing service providers in this branch, which reduces investments in technology and IT for such a start-up company. The

Its own logo, its own website. You can learn more about the new company for purchasing energy at www.genek. de. With the establishment of GENEK, ista is moving closer to the energy industry. In early 2012, the first energy supplies will get under way – this will primarily involve gas and communal area electricity.

bottom line is that this offers GENEK a clear competitive edge: very reasonable energy prices combined with smart metering technology. Antonio Fischetti, head of Marketing at ista Germany and the second man in GENEK‘s management: „ista is therefore setting up a sensible service portfolio. GENEK is providing us with optimum access to the smart metering business and offers our customers genuine added value.” Win-win-win Everyone profits from the business model: The shareholders, i.e. major customers in the real estate industry, can participate in the earnings of GENEK through their involvement. Moreover, they become part of an innovative energy supply concept including smart metering. ista concentrates heavily on the provision of the hardware

Fit well together: energy supply and smart metering technology.

and its installation, the metering operations and metering service. Thanks to the sale of smart meters, GENEK is, at the same time, also supporting the implementation of EDM premium and the heating ECG. More transparency results in improved control of the rent ancillary costs. The tenants ultimately profit from much lower energy prices. Full steam ahead! Sales are currently being run by Key Account Management. The customers targeted are showing great interest in the model. Selected housing companies will be supplied with energy from January 2012. In the second stage – probably in the first half of 2012 – all customers will be addressed so that they can purchase smart meters and reasonably priced energy (gas/electricity) from GENEK. Dr. Bardia Rostami is the person responsible in the Business Development department and he will be pleased to answer any questions. inside will keep you up to date on the further developments of GENEK. ■ *in accordance with Section 21b of the German Energy Industry Act and the associated metering access regulations.


No. 3  inside  September 2011

“We have to keep changing!”

Interview with Walter Schmidt, CEO ista international, on changes in the market and innovations. inside: Mr Schmidt, ista has changed its logo. Red has now been replaced by green. Is that only a bit of cosmetic surgery or is it a signal? Schmidt: We have given ourselves more than a facelift. The green stands for sustainability, but also for change – both inside and outside. ista has been very successful in recent years and so that is all the more reason why we must look ahead and realise how the economy and society are changing. The Greek philosopher Heraclitus said there is nothing permanent except change. That is particularly true of our branch of industry: new players in the market, subjects such as smart metering or the latest development, the energy turnaround and its effects in Germany, are changing the framework conditions for our business. inside: What does that mean for ista? Schmidt: We have intensively scrutinised and discussed where we stand with ista and where we want to go. Everything has been reviewed: image, products, services. We have established that we have to find new ways without completely rejecting the old ones. We must change our business so that we are viable for the future. Process optimisations and an even better exchange of ideas with our customers are right at the top of our list, led by the megasubject for the future, energy efficiency. inside: Is the market changing so much? The classic services in the ista business are staying more or less stable, aren‘t they?

Energy Management Services – Global ista portfolio EM Value Chain


Property Survey

Reading & Billing





Gas &  Electricity2



Consumption Consumption Reading Billing Ancillary Cost Billing

Payment Processing2


Property manager & commercial multi-sites

Controlling & Optimisation Data Visualisation3

Energy Consulting6

Energy Pass

Tap Maintenance7

Energy  Control Systems4

Energy Procurement Consulting8

Heating ECG5





Utilities & Energy retailer


Consumption Reading9

Payment Processing

Consumption Electr. Data Interchange10 Billing

Data Analysis Reporting

IT-Solutions for Billing  & Data Managemens

1 e:duo 2GENEK: offer incl. smart metering 3Debicasso in NL 4Web portals, EDM 5e:so in UK and Germany 6in Germany 7Energy Manager in USA 8in France 9Utility Expense Management in USA 10 in Spain 11in USA

Available in most markets Available in few markets

Global portfolio of services offered: ista‘s energy management solutions are geared throughout the world to its customers‘ specific requirements.

Schmidt: Yes and no! The demand for consumption-based metering and billing of energy, water and ancillary costs remains. It will even increase in many countries. What is, however, changing is the “how”. Radio technology has revolutionised consumption recording and analysis in recent years. And technological change will continue, even at a faster pace than before. But also information and data exchange with our customers will change significantly. In future, web portals and online services will characterise our line of business. Here, we must be able to keep up or, even better, establish a lead for ourselves in the market. New services are key to this. Examples such as smoke detectors, energy data management or the heating ECG show that we can successfully be up among the leaders. With GENEK, the company

for energy procurement, we are currently opening a new door again: ista is getting much closer to the energy industry. inside: So the lever is innovation. How and where is progress taking place at ista? Schmidt: We are focusing more and more on sustainable energy management. Our innovative solutions not only permit the individual control of consumption but also steer the use of energy and energy consumption. With e:so, we have a technology and service for commercial customers with which the entire energy consumption of a building can be recorded and displayed at short intervals. Basically, we must become much faster on the innovation side. New products and services still take too long to establish themselves. We are currently working intensively on closing the gap between energy production – that is to say the heating system boiler – and energy consumption. inside: Is there a demand in the market for such solutions? Schmidt: Currently the demand for energy management solutions is growing rapidly. The German government‘s decision in favour of an energy turnaround will give the market an additional boost. Alongside the subject of renewable energies, politicians are now giving much or thought to how energy can be saved. For example, in its Energy Efficiency Directive, the European Commission has presented further measures for saving on the energy supply and energy use sides. For instance, monthly consumption bills are planned. inside: When it comes to energy efficiency, politicians and the media always think of electricity.

Schmidt: That is not entirely right! In the last few months, the discussion has moved in another direction. It has been recognised that the cost of heating for an individual home is not higher than the cost of electricity but that a lot more energy can be saved on the heating side. For example, heat consumption and hot water production account for over 87 % of the energy used in Germany. inside: So this is where the greatest saving potential lies? Schmidt: The greatest lever is undoubtedly building and heating system renovation which, however, also involves the biggest investment. Landlords can hardly recoup these costs by raising rents. In the short term, efficiency gains on the heating side can be achieved with low-investment measures which make consumption transparent and with which consumer behaviour can be changed. ista already offers innovative solutions here, and we will be channelling all our development energy into this sector in the next few years. inside: While we‘re on the subject of the future – what do you see when you look into your crystal ball? Schmidt: I am very optimistic about the future. We have a great business model and excellent employees. Our tradition and the in-depth knowledge in our company give us a sound basis. At the same time, we are keeping pace with technological progress and expanding our offering to include forwardlooking innovations. Resource conservation, rising energy costs, energy efficiency – those are the subjects which concern people. And I don‘t have to be a fortune teller to foresee that these subjects will become ever more important. And there‘s no way around ista. ■


No. 3  inside  September 2011

The starting gun for the new customer retention index (CRI) sounded in mid-August. The survey was conducted internationally until the end of September; the results will be available at the beginning of November.

International: new concept

Customer survey is now called CRI

The CSI has now become the CRI – the abbreviation stands for Customer Retention Index. The main focus is on customer loyalty and that‘s why the name has been changed. Prior to this, ista had examined the old CSI and completely revised it. Laura Friedrich, the project manager from Sales Improvement, explains the new concept. inside: Apart from the name – what is new about ista‘s international customer satisfaction survey? Friedrich: We have a new focus. What is decisive now is not just whether the customer is satisfied with our performance but also whether he would choose ista again and even recommend us to others. The results are stored in an online reporting portal. This permits the countries to conduct further more detailed analyses. Another new feature is that the survey will now no longer be carried out just on the phone. This year for the first time, we are also interviewing our customers on the web

portal (Germany) or are sending them e-mail invitations to take part in an online survey (Germany/Switzerland). inside: What advantages does the new concept offer? Friedrich: The survey and its analysis are much more concrete than before. For

each customer group, we define the most effective approaches for improving customer retention as precisely as possible. It is not only the size of the customer that plays a role but also what services he purchases from ista, what percentage of radio devices he has or what the customer‘s business

CRI stands for Customer Retention Index.

model is. We have also taken a closer look at complaint management. We want to identify exactly what reasons for complaint jeopardise good customer retention the most and how we can avoid complaints in future. inside: What will change for the customers? Friedrich: They‘ll save time! The telephone interview takes no more than 15 minutes – that is half as much time as before. And, in future, not only customers in Germany and Switzerland will be able to take part in the online survey but also those in other countries. ■

Cogeneration units Home-made electricity and heat It is not just since the German government decided to pull out of nuclear energy that the subject of the energy turnaround has been the topic of controversial discussions worldwide. Experts see insufficient grid capacities in Germany as a problem. Alongside measures to increase energy efficiency, decentralised solutions are becoming ever more important for supplying energy to buildings. In this context, cogeneration technology is playing a mayor role as such units generate electricity and heat at the same time. Saving energy is the major challenge of the future. Energy-efficient modernisation of buildings, optimisation of heating systems, use of renewable energies – there are many sensible solutions. The cogeneration unit is one of them. It produces heat and electricity at the same

time using the principle of combined heat and power generation. The plant, a sort of mini power station in the cellar, consists of an engine, a synchronous generator and a heat exchanger. The synchronous generator driven by the internal combustion engine produces electricity. This can be used directly on site. The home owner can feed any surplus electricity into the grid of power utilities – and gets paid for it. Waste heat that is produced during power generation is used for space heating or heating water via the heat exchanger. Combined heat and power permits virtually complete fuel utilisation. Fuels which can be used are, for example natural gas, fuel oil or even rapeseed oil. New potential in the electricity sector This efficient technology is opening up entirely new opportunities for ista as the billing of electricity is still relatively new

All-inclusive: In electricity generation, the cogeneration unit also supplies heat for space heating at the same time. This technology is efficient, independent and relieves the load on power grids.

territory in Germany. For example, it would be possible in future to also offer a solution for this. The cogeneration unit uses some of the fuel for generating electricity. This consumption is measured by the meter in the cogeneration unit, or directly using an additionally installed electricity meter, and deducted from the total consumption. The costs for space heating and providing hot water are passed on to the tenants in

the heating cost bill and the hot water bill respectively. The electricity costs, which in turn are determined by an electricity meter are divided up in the ancillary costs bill. ista takes care of recording and billing the electricity consumption. It is conceivable that, in future, activities will also include the installation as well as the rental and maintenance of the meters.


No. 3  inside  September 2011




1 The large multifunction button The entire surface acts as a multifunction button to activate the mute function and conduct an alarm test. This “buzzer surface” is much larger than on the fumonic 2 and can comfortably be reached from the ground. 2 The LED light diode P  anic often breaks out when an alarm sounds. The LED light diode brings light to the dark when smoke occurs and helps to guide people. 3 The side function display

 he advantage of the position on T the side of the device is that nobody is disturbed by optical signals, particularly at night. This also avoids unnecessary dismantling by the user.

The new fumonic 3 has a lot of special features such as the suction system patented by ista  (see illustration). Even from the outside, some of new features are obvious immediately.

fumonic 3 with radio link

ista launches its own smoke detector on the market

As from September 2011, ista Germany is, for the first time, offering its customers a smoke detector which it has developed and manufactured itself. The heart of the wireless fumonic 3 is a novel suction system for which ista has filed a patent. Among other things, with this system the device automatically detects when the smoke chamber is clogged.


very year several hundred people die in fires in Germany. However, most victims do not lose their lives as a result of burns but because of inhaling toxic smoke gases. People are virtually defenceless against this danger, above all at night when a human‘s sense of smell is not active. In view of these facts, nine states in Germany have already made smoke detectors in homes obligatory. The 10th state is due to follow soon. The demand for smoke detectors will therefore increase sharply in the next few years. Novel suction system detects clogging ista has already offered the installation and maintenance of smoke alarms to its customers for many years and has so far sold over 1 million detectors. “In view of the rising demand for smoke detectors, we decided very early on to develop our own device. The fumonic 3 can be easily integrated into the symphonic sensor net radio system and helps both to make the service process more efficient and increase building safety,” explains Florian Brangenberg, the product man-

ager responsible in the Marketing department at ista Germany. The core of the fumonic 3 is a suction system developed by ista which reliably distinguishes between a real and a false alarm. A propeller pushes the air in the detector out and sucks new air in. If the fumonic 3 detects smoke twice in succession, it sets off an alarm. In order to detect Florian Brangenberg, product manager  clogging, the suckedMarketing in air is channelled past a temperature sensor. This sensor automatically registers when the air is getting warmer, which indicates a lack of proper air circulation and thus a build-up of dust and dirt or obstruction of the smoke entry openings. Choice of “classic” and “radio remote maintenance” service options There are two different service options for the fumonic 3: With the “classic” contract, the

Thanks to the double smoke test, the automatically engageable suction system of the fumonic 3 virtually excludes a false alarm and automatically detects clogging of the smoke alarm.

ista service technician enters the apartment once a year and visually checks the smoke detector for any build-up of dust and dirt, damage and proper functioning. For the highest safety demands, an upgrade from the classic to the radio option is absolutely no problem. This offering is the only one of its kind on the market. With the “radio remote maintenance” service option, in addition to the annual functional test the condition of

the battery and the alarm signal device are monitored monthly and read by wireless by ista. So if there are any abnormalities, the technicians can react immediately and rectify any potential faults at once. Furthermore, ista makes all data available on a web portal so that the property manager always has an overview of the function status of the smoke detectors in his properties. ■


No. 3  inside  September 2011


An end to all the bits of paper

ista is relying on new technology, also for payroll accounting. Since June, all employees in Germany have been able to opt for a digital payslip – the so-called e-payslip. This service promotes sustainable resource conservation and also saves time and money. Germany was the first, other countries can follow – depending on the IT system they use.


ieter Menting, Head of HR at ista Germany, puts it in a nutshell: “All the arguments are in favour of the new digital payslip. The right-hand column of a pros and cons list remains empty.” After all, the e-payslip offers benefits to both the employees and the company. Employees can access their salary data faster and more directly. ista can optimise internal processes, such as the issuing of certificates and confirmations, and profits from time and

cost savings. What‘s more, dispensing with paper payslips and their dispatch by post leads to a massive saving of resources. Example: If 25,000 sheets of recycled paper are needed a year, 139 kg of wood and 2,500 l of water have to be used and 110 kg of CO2 are emitted. If virgin pulp paper is used instead of recycled paper, the CO2 emissions increase by about 25 percent and the wood and water consumption even rises by more than double. The new service was also given


Pulse Check started

Goodbye to paper filing – those who receive the new e-payslip will now have more space in their filing cabinet. As from August, the welcome file for new employees is now only available as a PDF version.  The environment benefits from reduced paper consumption as well as lower printing and transport costs.

the green light by the data protection officer and the general works council. So it‘s a good thing, and every employee can help to save time and costs and conserve natural resources. Naturally, employees who do not have private access to the Internet can still continue to receive their payslip by post. “Currently some 15 percent of the employees in Germany take advantage of the new offer. Our aim is to increase this figure significantly by the end of the year,” Dieter

Menting explains. The digital payslip is also interesting for other countries. However, changer-over to the e-payslip depends on the IT program used – and there are many different ones in the ista world. HR is currently considering the use of a new system which it will then be possible to use internationally. You will find further information on the subject of online payslips on the infonet. ■


Austria now also on board

This time the newly introduced PSI Pulse Check – a survey between the “big” PSI surveys every two years – is not just about the employees‘ engagement. The focus is on the sustained effect of the PSI, that is to say on the improvements achieved since the last survey.


ll ista employees have until October 12 to provide feedback on the communications and measures process after the PSI 2010 and can therefore actively bring about further changes in the company. This interim check offers an overview of initial changes in the individual countries or regions. The aim is to implement the PSI measures developed and, as a result, achieve an improvement in daily interaction as well as an increase in employee engagement.

One example of the measures implemented in Germany: The ista HR department is using a new format. In a recently made PSI video some heads of department discuss fields of action at ista from the employees‘ point of view. These fields of action are the result of a PSI workshop held in Germany with employees from different departments and branches. The video can be viewed on the infonet. ■

Global networking: ista is backing a central system for all. The entire Central region is already  working with SAP T2. Further countries are to follow one after the other.

After a 6-month project, Austria changed over to SAP T2 at the beginning of August. So now all countries of the Central region – Germany, Luxembourg, Switzerland and Austria – work in a common system. All these companies can use all applications connected with SAP. This increases process efficiency and eliminates development costs for individual systems and platforms. The roll-out started with the migration of the Austrian ERP processes to the template system SAP T2. The meter- reading processes with SAP T2 and

the linked service tools will start in November. Further processes such as installation and equipment replacement etc. will follow. Then there will also be nothing to stop billing of the Austrian properties in ABRE, either. Due to the customer structure in Austria – a large part of the turnover is generated with only a few major customers – it was necessary to extend some ista standard processes and functionalities. The introduction of SAP T2 in Austria has brought ista yet another step closer to its aim of using a global system for all companies.


No. 3  inside  September 2011

Logos, brands and new names …

Ineke Baartmans is what you call an “old hand”: she has been working for ista for more than 27 years, 20 of which she has been responsible for Marketing & Corporate Communications of ista Netherlands.


er tasks include updating the website, making the customer magazine, designing presentations, brochures and advertisements as well as organising customer events. Her main project at the moment is – of course – ista‘s new Corporate Design (CD). For Ineke Baartmans, a relaunch is basically nothing new: “Over the past decades I have already seen lots of brands and logos come and go at ista,” says Ineke Baartmans laughing. “I am familiar with all the work involved in changing over to a new CD.” In the first step, the main aim is to inform the employees about the relaunch and the relevant messages behind it. “Following the relaunch of our website in early July we will be presenting the new CD in detail to our customers in the second half of September,” says Ineke Baartmans, outlining the plans of the Dutch branch. How does she rate the new external image of ista? “I particularly think the green dot is a good move. It gives us a better opportunity to express our new identity. It highlights our positioning in the market and makes it clear that in recent years we have developed from a metering and billing company to a provider of sustainable energy management solutions.”

A day in the life Of …


My day normally begins at 8.30. I generally spend the first half hour of the day reading my e-mails over a cup of coffee and getting an overview of the work ahead of me.


I make some phone calls with our agency. We talk about the new features in the next issue of our customer magazine “De Warmtemeter”.


An interview has been planned with one of our customers. It is to appear in “De Warmtemeter”. Although I prefer to hold such talks in person, we have to do it on the phone today as we are short of time. The subject matter of the interview: what significance does the sustainability philosophy have in your company and why is cooperation with ista important to you in this respect?


I have lunch at my desk. I generally bring sandwiches with me – preferably with peanut butter.


We hold an internal meeting. Today, we are discussing how we can increase the number of visitors to our website, what workshops are planned next and what

Ineke Baartmans (left) at the international Communications & Marketing Meeting. On this occasion the new Corporate Design and the measures connected with it were the main topics, too.

other deadlines and activities are still pending.


I hold a staff appraisal interview with one of our interns.


Meeting with the publisher of a new journal for professional property managers. He offers to publish free of charge an interview in a special issue on the subject of energy and sustainability.


I put a few new frequently asked questions (FAQs) on our website.


Before I go home, I answer a few more e-mails.


My working day is over. On the way home I generally call in at the nearest supermarket. ■

Ineke Baartmans Children: 1 daughter (17) Hobbies: Ineke Baartmans’ hobbies are cycling, cooking and gardening. She also is preparing for the 4-day walk in Nijmegen next year and is very interested in Israel where she lived for some time in a kibbutz. Career at ista: Ineke Baartmans’ first day at work was on 1 March 1984, i.e. 27 years ago. In the initial period she worked in numerous departments at ista, some of which now no longer exist. Ineke Baartmans has been responsible for Marketing & Corporate Communications at ista Netherlands for almost 20 years. Key tasks: Internal and external communications.

Award for Belgium: Business journal chooses ista as a “Trends gazelle” The Belgian business and financial journal “Trends” has chosen ista Belgium as a “Trends gazelle” this year. Every year, the publication makes this award to rapidly growing companies which are making a major contribution to boosting the economy in their region. ista ranked 29th in the category of medium-sized enterprises (turnover between 1 and 10 million euros) in the Brussels region. A total of 75 companies received awards in this group. “We are very proud of this award,” says Belgium‘s Country Manager, Philippe Laurent. “As a Trends gazelle, we are now officially

one of the most innovative and fastest growing companies in Belgium.” This year, Trends analysed all the companies in the Belgian top 100,000 for the 10th time. The requirements for being chosen as a gazelle are that the company has existed for at least five years, has so far created 20 or more jobs and recorded a turnover of at least EUR 1 million from 2005 to 2009. The ranking depends on which company has grown the fastest in the particular period. Proud gazelles: The management team of ista Belgium (from the left): Country Manager Philippe Laurent, Operations Manager Xavier Lippens, Billing Manager Rosemarie Pelsmaekers and Finance Manager Alexandre Stroobants.


No. 3  inside  September 2011

Country portrait Norway

Heating with hydroelectric power Whether hiking, sailing, angling or skiing – the Norwegians prefer to spend their free time outdoors. This love of nature is also reflected in power generation: the Kingdom produces its electricity almost entirely from hydroelectric power.

New IT platform increases product range As part of the IT-governance structure, which aims to eliminate the heterogeneous IT landscape with lots of very small solutions, Norway’s 30 to 40 year old IT system has been replaced by MIRUS. The billing platform, which is also used in Poland and Denmark, extends the range in Norway to include new products, e.g. web services and energy monitoring.

The team of ista Norway (from left): Espen Karlsholmen, Anne Gustavsen, Dave R Olsen, Per Selvik (aged 76 and at ista for 43 years), Paul Olsen.


he European Union intends to cover 20% of its energy requirements with renewable energy by the year 2020. That‘s not a problem for Norway. There are no nuclear power stations in the land of fjords and the share of coal or gas in power generation is almost zero. Instead, they use hydroelectric power to meet 99% of their energy requirements. As the environmentally friendly electricity is, however, comparatively cheap to obtain, the Norwegians like to use it for heating: roughly three quarters of households are fitted with electric heating systems. “There are therefore only about 450,000 apartments with oil or gas-fired heating systems in the entire country,” explains Espen Karlsholmen, Country Manager of ista Norway. “Of these, only 12% have so far got appropriate meters.” The reason for this low proportion is that home-owners in Norway have previously not been obliged by law to bill their tenants the heating costs on the basis of consumption. However, two political parties are now demanding this in their current party manifestos. “So the situation may well change in the medium term,” Espen Karlsholmen believes. Major project in Oslo Regardless of the statutory situation, however, most new buildings are now equipped

Portrait ista Norway Established in: 1952 Business focus: Consumption-dependent metering and billing of energy Number of employees: 20 Branches: 3 (Trondheim, Oslo,  Kristiansand)

with oil or gas-fired heating systems and consumption-dependent meters. ista Norway has just won an invitation to tender for such a project. “We will be installing our heat meter ultrasonic heatmeter ultego 3 in 900 new luxury apartments directly near the Opera House in Oslo,” says Espen Karlsholmen. “We are especially pleased that we were able to beat our major competitors Brunata, Techem and Siemens due to our technology.” Altogether, ista Norway looks after 11,200 housing units (as at the end of 2010), and Espen Karlsholmen is expecting growth of more than 20 % this year. Trondheim is where the music plays ista does its main business in Trondheim. “Here we concentrate on the installation of heat meters and billing on behalf of major energy utilities,” Espen Karlsholmen explains. “We work very closely with Statkraft Varme, Europe‘s leading company in the field of renewable energies.” Together with the utility, ista is currently planning a major district heating project in Harstad. ista will be supplying a total of 20 M-bus systems to Statkraft Varme this year and then also look after their operation. ista also runs a test laboratory in Trondheim where the various energy utilities can have to have their meters put through their paces owing to official requirements. ista Norway captures a 100 % market share with this service. And finally, from Trondheim ista also markets a system it developed itself, the Meter Park Management System FDV Track – a solution with which property managers can centrally control and monitor their meters via the Internet to see whether they comply with the statutory requirements. At present, ista monitors about 2,800,000 electricity meters via this system.

New business with fumonic In addition to the classic billing business, the Norwegians are working on other business models. These include the sale and operation of smoke alarms. “According to Norwegian law, at least one smoke alarm must be installed in every building,” Espen Karlsholmen says. “However, many houses have alarms which are 20 to 25 years old and have to be replaced. Here, we are trying to get a foot in the door with our fumonic.” ista is planning to cooperate with the insurance company, Codan, in order to advance business with smoke alarms. This insurance service provider intends to grant a discount to all its customers who opt for ista‘s fumonic. In addition, ista Norway is working closely together with ista Denmark on this project – a development which Espen Karlsholmen sees as very positive: “With ista‘s new matrix organisation, the individual national organisations are now increasingly co-operating across borders. As a result, we are learning from each other and offering mutual support to achieve our objectives.” Daily update on Facebook etc. In addition to changing over to the new corporate design, ista is also adopting new approaches in its communications: the Norwegians recently started making greater use of social media platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter to communicate their products and services. With success: “After just two months, we have an average of 267 users a day,” says a delighted Espen Karlsholmen. “26 of them have indicated they are interested and requested more information; so far there has been no negative feedback.” To make sure that it stays that way, ista is investing a great deal of energy in maintaining the various social media platforms: “That naturally also means that we update the entries every day,” says the ista Country Manager. ■

Country Portrait

Portrait Espen Karlsholmen

Age: 38 Marital status: Married, 3 children Career: Espen Karlsholmen was always a born salesman. Even as a nine-year-old, he boosted his pocket money by clearing snow and mowing lawns, as a teenager he sold vacuum cleaners after school and he spent the first years of his career at TV2, Norway‘s largest TV shopping channel. When Espen Karlsholmen finally joined ista, he had as good as no experience with the metering and billing of energy. However, the 38-yearold quickly recognised the great potential of this market and started working at ista as a sales consultant in 2002 and as a department manager from 2004. In 2009-2010, Espen Karlsholmen worked for a short time at Kamstrup before he took over the position of Country Manager at ista Norway in 2010.


Form of government:  Constitutional monarchy Head of government:  Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg Energy: Norway leads the field as far as the use of renewable energies is concerned.  The country obtains 99.3% of its energy from hydroelectric power. The rest stems from fossil fuels or is generated in wind, solar and tidal power stations. Norway has no nuclear energy whatsoever. Area: 385,199 km2 Capital: Oslo Population: 4,858,199 (as at 2010) Currency: Norwegian krone Official language: Norwegian (Bokmål and Nynorsk), in some districts Sami is also an official language


No. 3  inside  September 2011

International Ulrich Fischer is the new Regional Manager West/East Europe

Health management at ista

Healthy and fit – join in ista has set up a company health management (CHM) team in Germany. The aim of the new working group is to maintain and promote the health and well-being of all employees.

As of October 1, Ulrich Fischer will be the new regional manager of the newly created West/East Europe region at ista. As regional manager, the 45-year-old will be responsible for the Netherlands, Belgium, Poland, the Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Slovakia and Hungary. Ulrich Fischer comes from Techem GmbH, where he had been the member of the management team in charge of international business since 2009. Before his time at Techem, Ulrich Fischer had already spent ten years at ista where he was assigned various responsibilities. In 1994, the graduate engineer joined ista as a product manager and, in 2000, he became Head of Marketing and Sales before he took over the management of the Stuttgart branch in 2002. Ulrich Fischer was born in Hechinger (BadenWürttemberg) and is married. You will find further information on the new regional structure at ista on the infonet.

 This is to be achieved through integrated action in different fields which ensure healthy working conditions. Long periods of sitting, stress and irregular eating – many employees‘ working day is anything but healthy, which has also led at ista to more and more cases of illness in recent years. For this reason, the general works council and management have decided to start a nationwide health management programme in Germany. Under the motto “Healthy and fit – join in”, ista will, in future, be offering various campaigns and training courses designed to enhance the employees‘ well-being. Relaxation with mobile massages “The first seminars on the subject of stress management are already being held this autumn,” CHM project manager, Dieter Menting, explains. “To enable our employees to relax in- between, we would also like to offer them mobile massages at the workplace. We are currently considering a number of such


International Staff Newspaper of ista 03 | September 11 Published by: ista International GmbH Corporate Communications Grugaplatz 2 · 45131 Essen Tel.: +49 (0) 201 459-3271 · Editorial team: Katrin Gaub, Andrea Goedel, Julia Schwedes, PR-Partner Köln E-mail: Layout: Zimmermann Medien, Cologne


In order to find out what else is “bugging” the employees, the CHM team is planning an anonymous survey this autumn. “Through this survey we want to gain first-hand information about what puts pressure on our employees while at work and where there is a need for improvement,” Dieter Menting explains. In order to implement the centrally planned measures at local level, each ista branch has had a CHM team and main contact person for health management since August. “Naturally, the staff responsible for CHM at the branches will be pleased to take up employees‘ suggestions and discuss them at the meetings of the central CHM steering committee,” Dieter Menting adds. As a kick-off, an information day on the subject of health will take place at all German branches this year. A management seminar on “healthy management” is planned for 2012. Further measures will be developed on the basis of the results of the survey.

& win


utumn is just around the corner – bringing with it many hours of cosy get-togethers with family and friends. Whether you enjoy these evenings with a hot cup of tea or a good bottle of wine is up to you. You can win the necessary equipment in this issue‘s competition. The 1st prize offers you the possibility of saving memories in a completely different way and gives a new face to every hour of the day. The 2nd prize is a modern teapot which adds to the cosy atmosphere. The 3rd prize puts an end to the difficulty of opening bottles – this corkscrew wraps every cork around its finger.

Production: Schikfelder GmbH, Essen Circulation: 5,000 copies worldwide (German, Englisch, French, Polish)

offers.” And the subject of flu vaccination is also part of CHM. As in previous years, ista employees will have the chance to get themselves vaccinated early.

Make yourself cosy …

1st prize Wall clock


Stress makes people ill. Therefore, stress management and relaxation are key issues of ista health management.

2nd prize Teapot

Just answer the following three questions and e-mail your answer combination (e.g. ABC) together with your name and your branch to 1. What does the abbreviation of the new ista customer survey CRI stand for?

3rd prize Corkscrew Perhaps one of the prizes will soon belong to you. The deadline for entries is November 25, 2011. Good luck!

2. What award did ista Belgium receive from the business journal “Trends”?

A) Customer Review Index A) Trends Hyäne B) Customer Retention B) Trends Leopard Index C) Trends Gazelle C) Customer Recovery Index

3. Where is ista Norway installing the ultrasonic ultego 3 heat meter in 900 luxury apartments? A) At the Semper opera house B) At the opera house in Oslo C) At the opera house in Vienna

The winners of the last competition were: Edouard de Wever, Anderlecht/Belgium (1st prize), Kimberly Bello, Schiedam/Netherlands (2nd prize) and Mark Alberding, Kassel/Germany (3rd prize). Congratulations!

Thank you for your help!

The following people helped to produce this issue: Ineke Baartmans, Florian Brangenberg, Janna Carina Bülhoff, Sabine Fey, Ulrich Fischer, Antonio Fischetti, Laura Friedrich, Espen Karlsholmen, Anette Kreitel-Suciu, Xavier Lippens, Peter Lohwasser, Dieter Menting, Tanja Perbix, Dr. Bardia Rostami, Stefan Sievering. Many thanks for your support!

Inside - Fall 2011  

Company Newspaper

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