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JAN 21, 2016

U.S. Broadband Households Divided on Accepting Cost Savings for Utility Control of Energy-Efficiency Devices

Leading smart home companies will discuss energy management strategies at Smart Energy Summit: Engaging the Consumer, February 22-24, in Austin, TX 

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

The firm segmented consumers based on their preferences regarding smart home products and will discuss this research, and strategies to engage these different consumer segments, at the seventh-annual Smart Energy Summit: Engaging the Consumer, February 22-24, 2016, in Austin.

“Understanding the relative importance of cost, control, and convenience is key to understanding the opportunity to leverage smart home devices in energy programs,” said Tom Kerber, Director, Energy and Home Controls, Parks Associates. “Nineteen percent of U.S. broadband households currently own a smart home product, with thermostats and lighting leading the way. Parks Associates research provides clear evidence that co-marketing programs that take advantage of connected products in the home are a clear winner for utilities.”

In 360 View: Energy Management, Smart Home, and Utility Programs, Parks Associates identifies four consumer segments based on their preferences in acquisition, cost savings, and control regarding smart home and energy management devices. The firm also measures consumer willingness to allow utilities to control smart home devices such as thermostats, water heaters, lighting, and appliances during peak periods.

 Parks Associates: Energy Segmentations - U.S. Broadband Households 

Parks Associates and industry leaders will discuss partnerships between energy management and smart home products, and the value propositions they can bring to consumers, during two key sessions at the Smart Energy Summit.

“Energy Management and Smart Product Solutions” will examine how manufacturers and their partners are integrating energy management capabilities into smart products, including strategies to tie energy into the smart home ecosystems, the challenges, and the opportunities in integrating and selling these solutions. Speakers include:

  • Scott Hublou, VP Connected Solutions, Salus
  • Stuart Lombard, President and CEO, ecobee
  • Matthew Tolliver, VP of Business Development, EcoFactor

“The smart home category has an opportunity to lead in energy management. The ecobee3 smarter Wi-Fi thermostat with room sensors, for example, saves homeowners an average of 23 percent on their heating and cooling bills annually,” said Stuart Lombard, President and CEO of ecobee. “As we look ahead, partnering with utilities will continue to be a significant driver for adoption.”

“Interoperability, Integration, and Energy Management” will discuss data and communications standards and their role in accelerating home energy management adoption. Speakers include:

  • Barry Haaser, President, Managing Director, OpenADR Alliance; CEO, Lakeview Group
  • Dave Hurst, Director, Market Analysis, NextEnergy
  • Art Lancaster, CTO, Affinegy
  • Bill Scheffler, Director of NA Sales and Business Development, Sigma Designs/Z-Wave
  • Mark Walters, VP Strategic Development, ZigBee Alliance

“Industry standards play a key role in the deployment of energy management solutions to consumers,” said Barry Haaser, Managing Director, OpenADR Alliance. “What sets the OpenADR standard apart from other industry standards is that we provide a standard way for utilities to send energy management information to smart products over the Internet. The smart products can be pre-programmed to automatically respond to utility messages, like a change in the price of electricity, allowing consumers to save money in the process.”

"The growth of smart home devices coincides with interest from utilities to tap into not only those devices, but also distributed generation or energy storage assets,” said Dave Hurst, Director, Market Analysis, NextEnergy. “This will continue to drive complexity in home communication protocols near-term, but also presents opportunities for manufacturers, vendors, or utilities to align and clarify the integration of home automation features with broader energy system benefits."

“The most critical component for consumers to adopt technology to manage energy in their home is ease of use,” said Bill Scheffler, Sigma Designs’ director of Z-Wave Sales. “Interoperability plays a key role in delivering this feature. The killer app is really just having to use one app.”

“I’m looking forward to another great Smart Energy Summit and to spending time with industry leaders discussing important topics such as interoperability, standardization, and integration,” said Mark Walters, Vice President of Strategic Development, ZigBee Alliance. “The excellent moderation and panel makeup always lead to a spirited and enlightening conversation, while the audience is always fully engaged and asks the hard questions that need to be answered.”

Keynote speakers at the Smart Energy Summit include executives from EnergyHub, NRG, and Schneider Electric.

Sponsors include Tendril, EnergyHub, Honeywell, Unilectric, Powerley and DTE Energy, Affinegy, ecobee, PlanetEcosystems, WeatherBug Home, WSI, Z-Wave, Schneider Electric, State Farm, Tyco, and WattzOn. Media and organizations supporting the event include Greentech Media, Advanced Energy Economy, Antenna Systems & Technology, Conference Guru, FierceEnergy, GreenButton Alliance, HomePlug Alliance, HomeToys.com, IoT Today, Israeli Smart Energy Association, KNXtoday, Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnerships, Open Interconnect Consortium, OpenADR Alliance, Remote Site & Equipment Management magazine, SmartGridNews, TD The Market Publishers, Utility Dive, and WSN Buzz.

Information about the Smart Energy Summit is available at http://www.ses2016.com. Press passes are available at http://www.parksassociates.com/ses-presspass. To schedule a meeting with an analyst or speaker or to request materials from the energy conference, please contact Holly Sprague at hsprague@gmail.com or 720.987.6614.

About Smart Energy Summit

Smart Energy Summit: Engaging the Consumer addresses the evolution of the consumer utility market, the impact of COVID-19 on energy management programs, and new opportunities to drive engagement in utility-sponsored programs. Virtual panels and networking sessions, featuring executive-level experts from multiple industries, address strategies for utilities, service providers, retailers, software providers, and manufacturers to expand and monetize energy management and other energy-focused offerings through consumer engagement, new business models, unique partnerships, and innovative technologies.

Smart Energy Summit features an in-person conference February 13-15 at the Omni Austin Hotel Downtown, with virtual sessions on June 15, August 17, and November 9. The summit agenda features leaders from utilities, state and national regulators, telecom and security companies, retailers, and OEMs. Follow the event on Twitter at @SmartEnergySmt and #SmartEnergy23. For information on speaking, sponsoring, or attending Smart Energy Summit, visit www.smartenergysmt.com.