Engerati’s Week In Energy – Smart Home USPs

Published: Mon 09 Feb 2015
A blog entry by Jonathan Spencer Jones

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Jonathan Spencer Jones
Editor
Engerati

Jonathan Spencer Jones's Blog

Our commentaries on savings studies with the Nest thermostat and Clearview Energy joining the home energy market have prompted some thoughts on the smart home. [Engerati-Nest Claims Up To 17.5% Energy Reduction and Clearview Energy Joins the Home Energy Management Market] And some findings from the camera market seem relevant. There potential new buyers, who are primarily interested in sharing their photos, are looking for easy connectivity to smartphones and/or connectivity to the wider world. However, with camera manufacturers generally not succeeding, or perhaps unwilling, to provide this, these potential buyers are preferring to remain with their smartphone as camera of choice.

What does this imply for the smart home market (and leaving aside obvious differences between the latter as nascent while the former is mature). Buyers will want convenience and connectivity with easy to set up and interoperable devices and services, inevitably from multiple manufacturers – such as PV, storage, lighting, security, etc. – and a single platform to operate them, currently from a smartphone and more likely in the future from a watch or other wearable.

It also points to the USPs of such devices. Cameras have a clear USP over smartphones – their photographic quality, but that is apparently secondary to the connectivity requirements. Energy saving devices have a clear energy saving USP, but how important is that? Notably in one of the Nest studies a third of the participants thought the thermostat was worth the full retail price even if it had provided no energy savings (they, of course, had received them free). No doubt there is a ‘desirability’ factor but comfort and convenience are also likely to play a role. The important point is that whatever the USPs, with such devices in use the energy savings will follow.

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