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Energy Management is Emerging as a Key Driver for Tech in the Home

While security has remained a key driver for smart home adoption, energy is rapidly becoming more popular. The big news of the day is the announcement of NRG Energy acquiring Vivint Smart Home for $2.8 Billion - with a focus on bundling and cross selling security and energy management services.

Parks Associates recent consumer research suggests that consumers are growing more concerned about their energy costs and more aware of the environmental impact of their energy choices. According to our latest research:

  • 54% of US internet households think their electric bills are too high
  • 45% made energy-saving renovations or added major energy devices in 2021
  • 56% of US internet households would select renewables as an energy source if costs were the same; 36% say they would pay more to use power from renewable sources

Utilities Delivering More Value

Utility companies are making a concerted effort to share more data with their customers: the percentage of consumers who receive a daily breakdown of their energy consumption from their energy provider increased to 54% in Q4 2021.

Innovations in energy devices and platforms allow utilities to supercharge this effort, giving energy providers the ability to deliver more detailed and useful real-time energy information and extend into control and conservation services that reach “the other side of the meter.”

Smart thermostats are a key device enabling these services, but adoption levels have been flat for the past few years at roughly 13% of US households. The challenges to increase adoption include cost, installation, and consumer awareness, as once consumers have the device, they report great satisfaction and savings overall:

  • 91% of smart thermostat owners report they are satisfied with the energy savings from their devices
  • Smart thermostat owners and users report saving on average $49 a month on electricity due to the device

Connected devices in the home can provide more information on energy consumption, including load profiles at start-up and runtime profiles during operation. The combination of these data sets allows consumers to understand how the operation of each device impacts their utility bill and could lead to more actionable guidelines to reduce their energy costs.

Getting this disaggregation data can be difficult, and many current utility programs offer data only in 15-minute intervals, while consumers today are accustomed to real-time data. These challenges are exacerbated by the nature of today’s smart home ecosystem, which consists of many disparate devices from different manufacturers.

The standard smart home buyer journey today is via retail, often one device at a time, creating an experience where consumers are using multiple apps to control their devices. Therefore, control is not unified, and data is often not shared among devices, creating a disjointed consumer experience.

These conditions have inhibited growth of the smart home market into the mass market. Some level of unified control is available via smart home hubs, security providers, internet service providers (ISPs), high-end custom installments, and even the master smart home apps on common smartphone operating systems, but consumers want a more unified experience, with integrated automation and intelligence.

For many consumers, the ideal solution would be an IoT platform that can aggregate all the disparate devices and services into a single unified source. As consumers accumulate more devices, they gravitate toward a single source of control. An IoT platform can also accommodate the different preferences among consumers regarding the control experience.

US internet households are almost evenly divided, with 52% preferring an involved customized and control experience, versus 48% who prefer a “set it and forget it” experience. IoT solutions can have the flexibility to meet either need.

This is an excerpt from Parks Associates research. For more information on our research and services, please visit

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