Amazon has Alexa, Google has Nest, but it might be the utilities that have the biggest opportunity to amplify the adoption of the smart home. Mckinsey estimates the smart home to be worth 350B by 2025 and shows that consumers are most willing to adopt smart home technology from current service providers, more specifically, utilities. Despite these rosy-eyed projections, the smart home has yet to take off at the mass scale expected. Only 13% of homes have a smart device and most are just a simple smart thermostat.
It is a common story, a new technology segment with real potential hits the market but fails to develop a clear enough value proposition to push adoption forward. Much of the smart home technology out there today is still focused on primarily exciting the early adopter. There is an overwhelming number of complex DIY rules engines and tons of smart devices that litter the market with capabilities most don’t even know what to do with. But the majority of smart home sales are driven by individuals trying to solve a specific problem or fulfill a single desire.
The products that are focused at early adopters served their purpose in inspiring the imagination of the market. Yet there is a common gap between these early adopters or one-time niche buyer, and the majority adopters. There is an absence of practical technology that leaves the majority adopters struggling to find value. But now, utilities are helping to bridge this chasm. A personalized coaching engine known as the Smart Action Use Case Engine is being adopted by utilities like DTE Energy, AEP Ohio and BC Hydro – bringing mass-market adopters smart home products that will drive practical application and value.
Giving the Smart Home a Purpose
Wouldn’t it be nice if the lights turned off when no one was in the room? Wouldn’t it be even better if the market understood how to fulfill this desire? That person could order a smart switch and sensor and then creates a rule where if the lights are on and no movement is detected for 15 minutes the lights turn off automatically. But the reality is, the majority of the market wouldn’t know or understand that. Instead, that idea would live and die as just an idea, never resulting in any action.
Yet there are many adopters already using smart home energy management and monitoring platforms, provided to them by their utility, to save money on their energy bill. While most still aren’t utilizing all the vast capabilities of the smart home side of this technology, there is an opportunity to bring new ideas and use cases front and center, helping to educate individuals on the budding potential of the smart home.
The Powerley platform is unlocking the door to a simple, easy to understand smart home through the utilities. By intelligently suggesting automation and smart devices that can help save on energy and increase convenience, individuals are delivered specific ways they can use smart devices and rules to achieve different goals. For instance, a smart thermostat could be suggested with an automation schedule that would reduce their HVAC costs. Or, for those who get home late, they might find it helpful to get a suggestion to put a smart bulb in their front porch light and automate it to turn on at sunset.
If they already have a smart bulb in their porch light, then it is as simple as enabling the smart action by tapping the button on their card. If they are in need of any device to complete the card, the Order a device button will appear on the card which connects them to their utility’s smart device marketplace to purchase it.
And as the Smart Action Use Case Engine continues to expand, the future of it and the smart home will lie in the platforms intelligent learning capabilities. Thousands if not millions of use cases exist in the smart home – anything that combines data with automation can turn into value for a user. Soon, this use case engine will use intelligent learning capabilities to personalize each use case to the individual. If a customer has a low budget set on their smart home energy management platform but is having an unusually high amount of energy being used by their HVAC for their home size, a smart thermostat and specific automation schedule will be suggested to reduce HVAC energy usage. If an electric vehicle is charging when energy rates are higher, the engine will suggest an automation schedule for when rates signal they are at their lowest. And as each individual continues to build their smart home, the engine will suggest missing devices that they can buy from their utility’s marketplace.
When working with a BYOD smart home that has an overwhelming number of possibilities, utilities can direct their customers on solving their specific challenges. By having a smart home answering a specific need, it is no longer just a luxury – it has a dedicated purpose. Closing the loop between idea, understand and action, the Smart Action Use Case Engine has the potential to overcome the gap between smart home early adopter and majority adopter by simplifying how individuals understand functionality – creating a smarter, more personalized home.