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Wednesday, February 24, 2016

We have only scratched the surface of analytics we can perform on a home: Insights from WeatherBug Home

Dave Oberholzer, VP, Business and Partner Development at WeatherBug Home, answers several key industry questions for the Smart Energy Summit hosted by Parks Associates:

What do you think is the most challenging issue for your company as it relates to the residential energy management market?

We have defined an approach that truly delivers on the promise of IoT. Our integrated solution, which combines a variety of sensor data, our data processing capabilities and ability to present our intricate data analytics in an easy to consume, actionable way has put us in a very unique, leadership position in the market. We need to continue to work with our existing, and identify new, innovative partners that will support our commitment to drive continued innovation that will deliver engaging content to the consumer, and effective partnering models with utilities and the energy markets to deliver a superior service and realize the full potential of our energy intelligence capabilities. 

What are the major challenges that your business must address in 2016? In 2020?

We bring energy intelligence to connected homes via automated optimization of energy use, smart demand response, and engagement via unique insights to a home’s energy usage. By integrating data from a variety of sensors, we create a thermodynamic model that measures the impact of external weather data on a home, and how that home reacts. Our unique algorithms then use that intelligence to bring greater energy savings while maximizing comfort -- our intelligent EE has been shown to save 16.5% HVAC energy when combined with a connected thermostat. Our analytics also enable greater peak load shed --- last summer we delivered 1.76kW/home in Houston. We are partnering with more connected device companies and utilities than ever before, and there are many other ways to grow our business, so one challenge is to keep up with the demand for our services.

Another challenge is to harness the tremendous engagement with our WeatherBug app by literally millions of users to deliver and delight consumers with our energy analytics. We started that process last year and the consumer response has been great, now we are building and expanding our consumer engagement.   

What are the major barriers impacting consumer adoption of energy related products and services?

Consumers are beginning to understand the idea of a connected home with the convenience of controlling their thermostats, for instance, from their mobile devices. When we as an industry turn those connected homes into smart homes, and save the customer more money and deliver more comfort than they had before, that’s when the magic happens. Doing that requires big data and a lot of intelligence, and that’s what we are focused on.

What are the biggest opportunities for the smart home industry to work with the electricity industry?

We have only scratched the surface of the analytics we can perform on a home. We will continue to integrate our unique analytics and signaling detection capabilities with other smart home devices to deliver new, superior analytics that provide comfort, savings and peace of mind to consumers. This IoT approach to consumer energy usage leads to significant operational and energy efficiency benefits for utilities.

What impact will smart products and smart home services have on consumer adoption of energy solutions?

Everyone is working on more intuitive mobile applications that help consumers manage and control their smart home devices, which is great and a logical evolution. But our vision extends beyond setting changes from within an app. We want to develop a deep understanding of the home and a family's energy usage patterns so we can automatically manage energy usage, optimizing for variables such as the weather and presence, bringing new economies to the overall energy grid management. Today, by and large, homeowners have to program their thermostats to save energy when they are not home. Given weather impacts, presence and geo-fencing data, there is new opportunity to bring intelligence and automation to home energy comfort and cost management to deliver on the promise of what a smart home could do.

Dave Oberholzer spoke on the panel session "Direct Participation of Energy Platform Providers in Energy Markets" on Tuesday, February 22. Other speakers included Comverge, Itron, and Schneider Electric North America.

For more information on the Smart Energy Summit, visit www.ses2016.com.

Next: Low price of energy remains major barrier to consumer adoption: Insights from Comverge
Previous: Icontrol Networks Announces Integration of WeatherBug Home


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