IoT Strategy

Bundling Services is Key to Attracting Consumers to Energy Management Programs

by Tom Kerber | Feb. 8, 2016

Energy efficiency programs are designed to engage consumers and incentivize products or services that save energy. While the appeal of individual energy management solutions is relatively low compared to other smart home services, bundling energy services with other smart home services, with smart home products, or with traditional home services such as home or appliance warranties and HVAC service contracts will increase the appeal of energy management services and the resulting bundle.

Every consumer is at a different point in their journey toward energy efficiency. Early adopters may own smart products or even distributed generation resources, while others may make more modest investments in time and money to reduce their energy costs. Companies that provide energy efficiency programs to utilities recognize this journey and offer customized incentives to take the consumer to the next level.

Parks Associates research shows nearly 30% of U.S. broadband households value control of their smart home energy devices over cost savings, but approximately half of product owners or purchase intenders would permit utility control of their smart appliances in exchange for a product rebate. In addition, 46% of smart thermostat owners or intenders would permit utility control of this device in exchange for a $50 rebate or discount.

Understanding the relative importance of cost, control, and convenience is key to understanding the opportunity to leverage smart home devices in energy programs. Ownership of these products is trending upward -- 19% percent of U.S. broadband households currently own a smart home product, with thermostats and lighting leading the way.

The smart home is forcing convergence. Many traditionally separate verticals have the opportunity to collaborate and provide new value to the consumer. Parks Associates research provides evidence that co-marketing programs that take advantage of connected products in the home are a clear winner for utilities.

Parks Associates’ seventh-annual Smart Energy Summit: Engaging the Consumer will address these issues and the expanding market for residential energy management solutions and its impact on utilities, service providers, retailers, manufacturers, and consumers. The 2016 event takes place February 22-24 in Austin – register today!

Tom Kerber

Tom Kerber

Sr. Director, IoT Strategy

Tom leads Parks Associates research in the areas of home controls, energy management, and home networks. Tom authors numerous reports on energy management and home controls covering the evolution of technology, partnership opportunities, and new business models. Tom’s work at Parks Associates includes managing consumer surveys that track trends and market opportunities and enable insightful evidence-based forecasting for energy, security, and home controls. Tom speaks frequently at key industry events, and his views are sought out by national press organizations and publications.

Tom has done extensive consulting with electric utilities operating in a variety of regulator structures and numerous firms within the smart home ecosystem. Recent utility engagements include defining the home area network roadmap for a California IOU, updating the consumer engagement strategy for a traditional vertically integrated IOU, providing consumer and industry analysis to refine EE and DR programs for an IOU in a restructured market, and providing insights on the evolution of the connected home for a large Midwest IOU. Tom has also led projects for many Fortune 500 companies, helping clients refine smart home strategies, develop scenarios of the future of the smart home market, enhance product roadmaps, and refine specific product features.

Prior to working at Parks Associates, Tom worked as director of engineering and director of product management in multiple industries. Tom began his career in the U.S. Navy nuclear power program on submarines. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the U.S. Naval Academy in systems engineering and a master's in software engineering from the University of Texas.

Industry Expertise: Residential Security, Smart Home Products and Services, Home Network Technology, Software Systems, Electric Utilities, AMI, Home Energy Management, Demand Response

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