Zigbee Alliance Represents at Smart Energy Summit 2016

Zigbee Alliance Represents at Smart Energy Summit 2016
By Mark Walters, VP of Strategic Development, Zigbee Alliance

The Zigbee Alliance’s Mark Walters participated in the Smart Energy Summit 2016 on a panel titled Interoperability, Integration, and Energy Management. Read his blog post to learn about the expanding market for energy solutions and home controls along with the impact on utilities, service providers, retailers, manufacturers and consumers.

smartenergysummit

The annual Parks Associates’ Smart Energy Summit reflects on and shares experiences and approaches to the expanding market for energy solutions and home controls along with the impact on utilities, service providers, retailers, manufacturers and consumers.

I participated in SES2016 this year on a panel titled Interoperability, Integration, and Energy Management. The goal of this panel was to discuss interoperability and how the integration and installation process for smart products is affecting home energy management adoption. Participants agreed that the key issue with adoption – or lack thereof – is not due to standards or interoperability shortcomings but rather lack of consumer awareness of the value provided by smart, connected devices. The consensus is that it’s getting easier to find and install smart products that fit utilities’ needs and it’s no longer a battle of the transports but rather of available products and ease of integration at the application and cloud level. The panel collectively lamented about the pace and agility of the utility industry.

The key theme or value proposition for the utility or service provider remains customer engagement and retention, average revenue per customer, ARPU, and customer turnover or churn being the key metrics. Engagement has become key to success, and constant communication with the customer is critical to developing loyalty.

Additional takeaways from my experience and learnings at the Smart Energy Summit include:

  1. A key value for a smart connected device is preventive maintenance and monitoring of run-time efficiency.
  2. Energy management alone isn’t selling but there seems to be interest in security and remote presence closely followed by energy management with a strong emphasis on saving money and managing bill shock.
  3. Utilities are becoming more open to partnerships instead of trying to be all things to the customer, as they’ve done in the past. The utility still wants to control or “own” the customer relationship but they are no longer trying to be the expert in everything.
  4. A well-executed smart home program can enhance the customer relationship and boost the utilities’ brand and relationship with the customer. Today, smart products are really seen more as bonus “gifts” than they are as tools to monitor and manage energy use. The vast majority of smart devices installed or provided by or through the utility are not engaged in a connected energy program such as demand response or a time-of-use tariff program.

As product and system interoperability expands and utilities continue to collaborate, we as an industry and a consumer community get closer to realizing the significant benefits offered by smart products and home energy management.