Telecoms, energy and equipment sector firms in the United States are linking up with Cloud services specialists to provide enhanced home energy management services.

Smart home market players betting on multichannel approach

The Home Energy Management Systems market is valued at over $1.5 billion in 2013, according to a recent report from Massachusetts-based sustainable technology media company Green Tech Mediaentitled ‘Home Energy Management Systems: Vendors, Technologies and Opportunities, 2013-2017’. One interesting feature of this market revealed by the report is how sectorally diverse the providers are – ranging from construction companies, telecoms providers and energy suppliers – who are all trying to capitalise on the growth in a market which is being strongly encouraged by the public authorities. In order to drive forward the transition to more energy-efficient consumption patterns, these traditional firms are now increasingly cooperating with startups specialising in Cloud technology and using collaborative tools (such as APIs) to develop new services, thus avoiding expensive replacement of existing equipment.

Household data feeds into customised solutions

EcoFactor, the leader in Cloud-based home energy management services, has just raised over $10 millionin a funding round, mainly from  NRG Energy, a leader in green energy in the United States. The company uses advanced algorithms and tailored software solutions to help reduce its customers’ home energy expenditure. The EcoFactor approach is to put to good use the data generated daily by households as a basis for assisting their transition to more moderate energy consumption, but without drastically changing their preferred habits and desired comfort levels. Feedback from connected thermostats, coupled with weather information and data on consumption habits, is processed through EcoFactor’s optimisation algorithms to provide customers with a tailored energy management service.

Collaboration between different sector players

Today the ‘connected home’ market lies at the crossroads of a number of different industries: energy supply, services, security, telecoms providers and cable suppliers. At a time when the market is still extremely volatile and has great potential for development, Green Tech Media predicts it will double in value to $4 billion by 2017. Meanwhile we are also seeing both ad hoc and longer-term strategic collaborative deals involving leading companies in the various sectors. The advantage of the partnership approach is that it can help to drive transition to greater energy efficiency without householders having to buy new equipment. For example, a recent deal between EcoFactor and Comcast, a US provider of cable, entertainment and communications products and services, means that customers who have signed up for Comcast’s Xfinity Home platform will be able to make use of EcoFactor’s ‘EcoSaver’ thermostat in order to benefit from an enhanced service. Comcast has also gone into partnership with a manufacturer of smart light bulbs, which can potentially reduce average household electricity bills by as much as 83%, as well as having a lifetime eighteen times that of standard incandescent bulbs.