The battle has begun. Software developers everywhere are quickly realizing that the market for energy management applications has enormous potential. But although it’s worthwhile to watch the smaller companies and see if any one of them comes out with the next breakthrough, when players like Google and Microsoft jump into the mix, you know that their product will get far more exposure in the market.
Google’s product, the Google Powermeter, is directed towards the home energy user. It is a web-based graph which shows you how much energy you have been using over the course of the day, and where that energy is being used. What it does not appear to do is give you the ability to remotely control your appliances. Still, knowing where you use the most energy can make a big difference, as a Google employee testifies in a promotional video – he saved $3,000 in one year without any significant lifestyle changes.
Microsoft, on the other hand, is working on a product that appears more robust, and feature-intensive, but not as simple and easy-to-use as the Powermeter (which isn’t surprising when you consider Outlook versus Gmail). The Environmental Dashboard application for Microsoft Dynamics AX is catered to businesses rather than home energy users. Like the Powermeter, the Environmental Dashboard helps businesses analyze and reduce their energy consumption, but it also helps them measure their greenhouse gas emissions.
Programs like this are great for people like us, but let’s not forget that smart technology is a series of steps. Being able to measure electricity consumption is the first step. The second step is being able to remotely control electricity-consuming devices. The third and final step is connecting households into large networks which can be managed on the macro level. Ultimately, although personalized solutions can make a difference in one’s annual budget, we aren’t going to see widespread changes until all three steps are complete.
Via CNET, Treehugger
written by Royce Fullerton, February 12, 2009
written by Robb Henshaw, February 13, 2009
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