This full article was published in Electric Light & Power.
As utilities develop their demand side management and customer solution strategies, they face a host of challenges ranging from new business models to competition for customer dollars and mindshare. Emerging connected devices and technologies can be part of the solution, giving utilities a platform to enhance customer engagement and improve demand side management.
But utilities shouldn’t sit back and wait for the next Nest thermostat to come along, as transforming market adoption of connected devices has historically been easier said than done. Instead, utilities should proactively use lessons learned from the success of Nest, and competitive smart thermostats, and apply them to the next wave of connected energy saving devices for utility residential and business customers alike.
Smart thermostats engaged customers in a new way by moving the conversation beyond the basic capabilities of the thermostat. The marketing and sales pitch was no longer just about new features and functions for controlling your HVAC and saving energy. It became about something bigger: simplifying your life, providing you with more control and comfort in your home, and leading a savvier and more high-tech lifestyle. The message resonated with utility customers, driving demand for reasons much different from the original energy savings intent.
Utilities can learn from this experience as more and more energy efficiency products become smart, connected, and valuable to consumers and businesses. There are several home and building technologies that have the potential to be ‘Nest-ified’. With the right set of customer offers, utilities can expand adoption of these solutions and get customers to opt-in to demand side management at the same time.