Saturday, July 5, 2008
In the two earlier parts of this series here and here, I had talked about various aspects of smart energy. In this part, I will look into smart energy and convergence devices and will touch a little bit on consumer awareness.
7. How about a more advanced use case?
That brings me to my favorite topic – convergence devices. It is very easy to foresee a remote application that will interface with the backend platform and help you control your electrical appliances through your convergence device. A very appropriate example is to have a smart energy iPhone Application, right?
Here is another use case. Suppose that your laptop or your mobile device has a zigbee radio and an energy management stack running. You could potentially set the application up such that when you step out of the house, your mobile device ‘loses contact’ with the gateway. The gateway then realizes your absence and sets the devices in your home in ‘hibernate’ or ‘absent’ mode. This may include a much lower thermostat setting, automatically turning off your humidifier or your ice-machine. Cool, eh?
8. What part should the consumer play? Will this be thrust on us?
Well, like I mentioned earlier, this is very much a part of the ‘green’ initiative. But its implementation will be successful and pervasive only when there is a win-win situation for the consumer and the utility company. While the utility company and the value chain will seek to monetize smart energy, they will have to ensure that the consumer will also benefit. The ideal situation will be for the industry to give back to the consumer rather than merely benefit from his/her philanthropic nature. So the consumer, in his part, should make sure that the utility company does not take him/her for a ride and that there is a value proposition for all parties.
Remember that ‘Smart Energy’ is not just another gimmick by the corporate world, but is for a noble cause. In my mind, it is also an awareness tool that demonstrates how you and I can contribute our little something to Mother Nature. It is to be seen how the entire chain will come together to define the value proposition to the consumer.In the next part of this series, I will talk about why the utilities companies will want to implement smart energy.