There was a collective smart grid sigh one could almost feel over the Twittersphere when Google announced they were gracefully exiting Google PowerMeter. In the official blog, Bill Weihl of Google wrote a very prescient statement:
Momentum is building toward making energy information more readily accessible, and ’s exciting to see others drive innovation and pursue opportunities in this important new market.
He’s not the only one trading in prescience. Shortly after that I fired out this Tweet:
Without social change + #smartgrid, assuming we have cheap electricity anytime we need it will fail in coming years.
— Don Dingee (@L2myowndevices) June 24, 2011
Some of the transition is powered by technology, but much of it is social-powered consumer behavior that is just starting to change. In order to get people to use these apps, they have to be easy, fun, and beneficial.
Gene Wang and his team at People Power have just released their Energy Services Platform, and their Android app is in the market with iPhone and iPad versions to follow shortly. ESP targets designers of smart home and office gear and smart mobile device applications, and the pieces are provided in reference designs for companies to get going with creative designs.
- The GreenX PowerStrip, which provides both on/off control of each socket and full monitoring of consumption on each socket,
- The GreenX Hub, which forms a gateway between the GreenX PowerStrip and Wi-Fi for communication with smart mobile devices,
- The Android and iOS apps, which communicate with meter monitoring tools from The Energy Detective and Blue Line Innovations and the GreenX Hub and cloud information.
ESP goes way beyond Monitoring and Control though, which can provide direct energy savings. There’s a Compare feature, which can tell you how much energy other people in your zip code are using, or can monitor an appliance – say a refrigerator – and tell that it’s using 20% more energy than average and make recommendations for newer more efficient models. There’s also a Compete feature, which integrates with Facebook and Twitter and offers things like badging for meeting energy goals, and ways to show how you and your friends are doing in greening the earth by saving energy.
Again, ESP is a reference design that manufacturers of smart appliances and home networks can take to the next level and really expand the vision. It’s a combination of hardware, software, cloud computing, and behavioral insight that shows what’s possible in home energy management.
People Power has also struck a deal with the City of Palo Alto to implement the ESP platform in city buildings and provide a real-world lab where the benefits can be illustrated.
No worries, Google PowerMeter may be gone but with things like People Power’s app on stage, we’re seeing the first wave of tools social-powered consumers will be using to keep track of and save energy.