Citing Jesse BERST, “utilities could get sucked into the smart appliances trap just as several of them fell for the in-home display idea. It doesn’t make sense for utilities to subsidize products that consumers don’t want. And consumers don’t want smart appliances.” Indeed, everybody talk about smart stuff, dozens of startups try to break into the smart home market, and no smash hit is coming. Why?
As Beth BUCZYNSKI said, “are smart appliances worth the big investment?” It seems that the industry hasn’t yet provided a killer app everybody would be happy to pay to have it.
Indeed, behind the excitation these quite low-cost technologies offer today to geeks, we should first ask ourselves: what’s the value smart appliances provide? Having answered this question, we should then think: does this value overwhelm the downsides it creates?
According to Jesse BERST, nobody, and especially Utilities, should subsidize smart-appliances. At least, not until more appliances are like the Nest thermostat. “First, the Nest does the thinking for you. It doesn’t require you to figure out the best times and set points. It makes those calculations for you. Second, Nest Labs now has utility applications to extend the value of its thermostat.”
My deep belief is that it’s not enough and that smart appliances come at a premium, even in Nest case. Under these conditions, we shouldn’t see these markets taking off quickly. We need first to figure out how to solve the following massive drawbacks:
- can we get smart-stuff at a very low price?
- are they enough user-friendly?
- are they very ease-of-use, -of-install?
- are they opened to work with one each other?
- and most importantly, can we find synergies with non-energy-based appliances and usages?
I do think that people don’t care about energy, but people care about their Smart-Phone. Let’s find a way to create not too expensive user-friendly and ease-of-use appliances, which provide simultaneously other services and energy services, and then maybe we’ll be able to massively deploy energy smart stuff.
Based on professional successes, we’ll see soon how we can create smash hits without waiting for the next smart-appliances generation.
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