Smart Meters Place Homeowners in Control of their Energy Consumption
Consumers all over the world —but especially in Europe, according to reports—, are concerned with reducing their energy consumption and costs. But household energy management is no easy task. Daily life can get pretty hectic at times, and it is not uncommon to forget to turn the AC off when leaving the house, or returning from vacation only to find that the bathroom light was left on for an entire week. Weather and climatic conditions tend to change fast, and it is easy to forget to adjust the thermostat accordingly. All of these add up eventually, leading to substantial amounts of energy wasted that result in higher bills at the end of the month. The good news is that many, if not most, of these issues can be easily solved thanks to smart IoT devices. According to the Fraunhofer Institute, intelligent home control can help save up to 40% of heating costs. If you don’t believe it, just keep on reading.
We have already discussed in previous posts some of the many ways smart technologies can help homeowners save energy: remote home control from the smartphone allows disconnecting lights and appliances from afar; smart thermostats can automatically adapt the home’s temperature depending on the weather forecast; motion sensors are able to work in combination with the thermostat to detect which rooms are being used and which are empty, adapting the lightning and temperature conditions accordingly, instead of wasting energy in heating empty rooms around the house. All these solutions are great ways to save energy, but the true game-changer of connected living tech lies in understanding behavior patterns through data analytics.
Thanks to analytics, smart devices can learn about the daily habits of household members, how and when rooms are used, bedtimes, schedules, etc., adapt accordingly and make predictions of future behaviors. This not only helps reduce waste and improve efficiency but also educates consumers about their energy use. It’s a fact that most consumers have no idea which devices in their home use the most power. Smart meters offer a way to monitor and manage where, when and how electricity is being consumed within the house. They offer unprecedented insight into power management, providing real-time data that helps determine exactly how much is being spent on each individual appliance, and discover the big money suckers. All this information puts homeowners in control of their home consumption, allowing them to become savvier and more conscious about energy management.
Customers with lower energy consumption and, therefore, lower utility bills, are happier customers. This is great news for service providers, who are also presented with a unique opportunity to differentiate their offering with additional services based on data analytics. Florian Kopshoff, head of marketing at Lemonbeat GmbH, explains it well: “energy providers […] have the opportunity to establish themselves as energy coaches and consultants in order to further increase customer satisfaction and loyalty”. Many electric companies have already installed smart meters to gather customer data. This allows them to offer a variety of tailored services, such as on-demand pricing. “The biggest challenge for energy consumers is to develop new business models with the obtained data”, Kopshoff concludes.
Thehe combined use of IoT devices and data analytics is a powerful tool in the path towards energy efficiency that offers both service providers and consumers invaluable insights on the way household appliances use and distribute electric power, providing improved management while avoiding unnecessary waste. Utility companies are now in a unique position to lead the way in this revolution that will forever change the way people interact with home appliances.
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