Home / Blog / Tagged: device

The Future Of Utilities And IoT

The Future Of Utilities And IoT

How Utility Companies Can Benefit From Smart Home Devices

The rise of the renewable source connected to the grid, the development of distributed energy resource (DER) solutions, energy markets deregulation, technology innovations, new customers’ behavior, etc. are changing the traditional business model of electric utilities.

Electricity demand is slowing down

According to Eurostat report in the between 2004 and 2014 household electricity consumption fell by 1,3 % in all EU-28 countries. There was a great reduction in Belgium (almost 29%), Sweden and UK (more than 10%). The trend of decreasing electricity demand has been observed in Germany since 2011 too. Total electricity demand in U.S.A. is projected to keep slowing down between 2016 and 2040 according to Annual Energy Outlook 2017. The reasons for this trend are different but the most important are: regulatory energy efficiency measures, as well as innovative household devices (e.g. smart home solutions) and new appliance standards.

DER solutions and independent communities

There is a growing number of energy communities in the USA which are considered to be “green power communities” – cities, villages or counties in which the local government, business, and residents collectively use green power. The European Federation of renewable energy cooperative -REScoop.eu has already a member network of 1,250 renewable co-operatives and their 650,000 citizens.

Energy efficiency policies help households save money on energy bills

EU is in the process of updating its Energy Efficiency Directive which purpose is to set 30% energy efficiency target by 2030. The reports show that energy intensity in EU industry decreased by 16 % between 2005 and 2014. In the meanwhile European households are expected to save almost 465 euros annually from electricity bills due to more efficient appliances.

New customers

Electric utilities experience customer behavioral changes. According to the latest Accenture’s (https://www.accenture.com/us-en/insight-new-energy-consumer-thriving-new-retail-ecosystem) Energy Consumer Research:
  • 82 % from interviewed customers would be more satisfied if offered an in-home system that automatically limits electricity usage at peak periods.
  • 79% percent would be more satisfied if offered an in-home device providing energy usage feedback and suggesting customized products and services.
  • 61 % would sign up for an app that can remotely monitor and control home elements
Citizens are becoming more active and demanding. The prosumers (electricity consumers who produce their own energy) do require more energy democracy and are pushing the transformation of energy markets.

Technology innovations

Due to new technologies and connected renewables, the grid is turning from a “wire for electricity” to a platform with connected devices, prosumers, smart meters, electric vehicles. Data collection and analytics, smart and interconnected devices will allow advanced energy management and smarter energy use, reducing utilities’ kWh sales even further.

The “utility death spiral”

All these factors are just a part of the big picture of the energy revolution that is going on. Peter Klein calls them “disruptive challenges”. When grid costs go up while in the same time capital costs for renewables go down, more customers are willing to be energy self-supplied. This leads to higher grid costs for the remaining customers who will have the reason to also leave the grid. In the meanwhile assets’ maintenance costs are a permanent part of the utility budget. This repetitive process is called the “utility death spiral”
In order to escape from the utility death spiral, traditional electric utilities need to adopt new business models and go out of the box. Smart home devices offer differеnt ways for saving utilities operational costs or improving customers’ engagement. Here are some examples:
  • Demand response: Smart thermostats like Nest or devices like Bobbie help utility companies to develop demand response programs and shave the peaks, as well as lower the costs for balancing the grid.
  • Customer behavior tracking: through smart home devices utilities can collect ” behind -the- meter” data about their customers’ behavior at home and develop personalized tariffs and energy engagement programs.
  • Sales business opportunities: already many utilities are selling third party’s smart devices and products to their customers and thus generate additional revenues, e.g Italian multi-utility Estra, San Diego Gas and Electric, Scotish utility, etc.
Smart home devices give a great opportunity to utilities to grow by developing new services (e.g help customers manage electricity bills) or managing their costs (e.g. demand response). However, electric utility companies do not need to become IoT market players but establish partnerships with third party companies providing home automation and take advantage of the growing home automation market.

The 6 Best Smart Home Accessories Out There

SkyBell HD
This is a simple story about smart stuff. Home Automation or Smart Home involves the control and automation of lighting, heating, ventilation, air conditioning, security, as well as home appliances. If you are reading this e-mail this means you have been subscribed to the M Climate newsletter and you may already have set the start of your home automation with one of our products (maybe Melissa). Today we present you some of the best Smart Home accessories out there because we believe that telling the story of the whole industry makes more sense than just advertising ourselves. Hurray! We are separating the Smart Home products into 6 different categories Virtual Assistants, Connected Lights, Smart Doorbell, Smart Home Cam, Smart Outlets, Smart Locks. In this blog post, you will see a famous representer of every category. August Smart Lock, $299.99 - “Farewell, massive keychain” August Smart Lock lets you remotely control your door lock. Let’s say that keys are old fashioned and we want something more…''techie" to lock/unlock our doors. The Smart Lock looks and locks well it also gives you the ability to allow certain people into your home, even when you’re not there. Think about the cable guy, who scheduled an appointment with you for 3 pm without caring that exactly at 3 pm on a Tuesday you may not be able to cable(be present at home). With August Smart Lock you can let him in your home from the comfort of your own office space. How convenient!
August Smart Lock Smart Home August Smart Lock
Philips Hue, $169.99 - “Let me put some romantic lights, babe” The smart lighting concept starts with Philips. Having the ability to change the amount of light and its color gives you the opportunity to adjust the mood of the room. How romantic! The Hue is a bit pricey but after all, it’s a very niche product for individuals with specific demands plus dimming the lights from your smartphone may potentially save you some cash.
Philips Hue Smart Home Philips Hue
Google Home, $129 - “Ok, Google play some Barry White” A virtual assistant looking like an air freshener, a designer item with a lot of functions or as people say your very own personal Google. Google Home has a real potential to one day be the smart home command center Google wants it to be. The smart artificial intelligence that’s built into the Google Home, actually makes life easier rather than more difficult for you. You can ask it to find any song, lower the thermostat for you when you leave, diagnose your symptoms when you’re feeling ill and pretty much everything you can think of using google.com for. Google Home is far from perfect at the moment, but it’s sure to get better over time as Google continues to work on its voice assistant technology.
Google Home Smart Home Google Home
M Climate SmartPlug, $27 - “Did I forgot the iron on? Should I go back home and check? Nah, It’s all good” The Wi-Fi power outlet is a cheap smart home accessory that effectively turns whatever's plugged into it into a smarter version of itself. You can remotely control when you want a lamp, fan, space heater, or what have you to turn ON/OFF. The SmartPlug has a few more functions added to it like Timers and Geolocation. The device uses your smartphone’s geolocation to turn on or off, for example, your space heater, depending on you leaving or coming home or you can SmartPlug a lamp and set an on/off timer to fool the thieves and imitate presence at home. Nest Cam, $186.55 - ”This is what an indoor security camera should be” The Nest Cam Indoor security camera is designed to help you look after your home and family – even when you’re away. With 24/7 live streaming, a versatile magnetic stand, person alerts with Nest Aware and one app for all your Nest products, Nest Cam Indoor helps you keep an eye on what matters. From anywhere. Some cameras can’t stay on all the time because they rely on batteries, so they only start recording when they sense motion. But if they miss something, you do, too. With a Nest Aware subscription, Nest Cam continuously records 24/7. And saves up to 30 days of footage securely in the cloud. So you never miss a thing.
Nest Cam Smart Home Nest Cam
SkyBell HD, $200 - “Honey, there is a strange looking guy at the door” The SkyBell Hd is connected doorbell with Built-in motion sensors and a 1080p camera. Skybell senses when somebody is at your door and notifies you with a live stream through its companion app. Security and comfort are the main USP’s for this awesome doorbell. The SkyBell seems to be one of the Smart Home accessories that classifieds for a needed innovation.It’s a bit pricey, but the added value seems to overcome the $200 dollar bill.
SkyBell HD Smart Home SkyBell HD
The Smart Home Concept is not entirely ready for being at every house, but the early adopters are already using smart gadgets and the results are awesome. All the big companies are heading towards Home Automation so...maybe in a few years we will all live in the comfort of Smart Homes. Check out our new website and explore the money saving part of home automation here!