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Smart homes for the smart grid

by Gene Wang

Smart grid, smart grid technology, smart homes, consumer engagement, energy savings, home energy management

The grid has gotten smarter over the last few years, but it has not captured the imagination of mainstream consumers.  Why?  It’s because most people can’t figure out how the smart grid improves their daily lives.

 

For example, smart meters were supposed to lower people’s energy bills by giving people feedback.  But a frequently held belief is that they make your utility bill go up.  Most people don’t love the smart grid.

 

In contrast, the smartphone is now the most popular consumer electronics device, with higher market share than ordinary dumb phones in the U.S.  People love smartphones and use them constantly throughout their day.  I personally get awakened every morning by my iPhone alarm, quickly check my email by phone as the fog clears my brain, check my calendar on my phone before I start my day, and frequently use a GPS app to navigate me to the right place for a meeting, all before making a phone call.  And I’m sure many people do the same things.  Smartphones have been incorporated into the daily habits of people.

 

Smart homes to the rescue?

Now finally, the smart home market is poised to take off.  According to Transparency Market Research, the global home automation market is estimated to grow from $17 billion in 2011 to $47 billion in 2018.  But smart homes have been discussed for decades and success is not guaranteed.  I believe many of the solutions being offered today will fail, because they are overpriced and overly complex, under-featured and underwhelming.  And they are closed systems, not centered on the computers we all carry around in our pockets and pocketbooks.  To see the smart home market really triple in size, we need solutions that people fall in love with and use every day.

 

 

From our reports store: “Smart Grid Business 2012 to 2017,” published by Memoori, analyzes the smart grid market’s size, technologies, finance and needed investments, demand forecasts and more.

 

At People Power, we just launched a free App called Presence, which turns your spare iPhone or iPad into a Wi-Fi video camera with built-in motion detection.  So you can turn it into a security camera, KidCam, PetCam, BabyCam or ElderlyCam, and view it from anywhere or get video alerts when something happens.  We’re now getting thousands of downloads every day from users in 100+ countries, even though we’ve spent no money on marketing and launched less than two months ago.  That’s because Presence helps people stay connected with the people and things they love most, no matter where they are.

 

Connecting smart homes to smart grids

We plan to expand Presence to also control thermostats and smart plugs, read electricity meters and connect with a wide range of super cool devices through the People Power Cloud Platform, which is open to all hardware and software developers.  With the White House push to make electricity data broadly available to everyone via Green Button, smart homes can be more connected to the smart grid than ever before.  Together we can make solutions that bring the significant benefits of the smart grid to every smart home, that become part of people’s daily habits by making a positive impact in their daily lives.

 

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