We waste a lot of energy in this world of ours, and lots of big companies out there are beginning to see the business opportunity. Everyone from IBM to Google to power utilities are coming up with ways to make money off of helping you use less energy. And that’s just fine with me.
So it’s no surprise that a telcom giant like Verizon has announced its plans to get in on the action as well. Here’s what they propose: When you, the customer, sign up for Verizon’s FiOS internet plan, Verizon installs a router. Besides broadcasting the signal from your modem, this router also has the ability to communicate with devices in your house, allowing you to control the lights, the heat/AC, the window shades, etc.
The bad news is that Verizon isn’t an electric utility. So all they can do is offer you gadgets to wirelessly control the devices in your house. They can’t get into more robust technologies such as programming your house to change its electricity usage in response to dynamic pricing – that would involve stepping on the toes of ConED, PG&G, or whoever sells you electrons.
The good news, though, is that telcom companies have a big advantage over utilities – they make changes quickly and effectively. Utilities have a reputation for moving slowly and clunking around when it comes to new technologies. There’s no way to get our much needed smart grid up and running unless that reputation changes.
The question on my mind, though, is: Who will make the little devices that measure and control each appliance in my house? The lights, the fridge, the thermostat… each one is going to need its own little chip. Since it is not clear which industries and standards will prevail, whoever makes said chip had better make sure that it can talk to the utility AND the Google Powermeter AND Verizon, so that no matter who the customer chooses to use, it’s compatible with the same single chip.
There’s another golden business opportunity right there…
Via Greentech Media
written by Fred, June 30, 2009
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