How the bring-your-own-device trend is transforming demand response



I value the perspectives of people who hold both engineering and business degrees. They understand better than most the delicate interplay between the two realms.


You can read about that interplay in the guest editorial below from Honeywell's Jeremy Eaton, who has a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering and a master’s degree in business administration. He explains how new technology is making new business models possible. More specifically, how coupling inexpensive Wi-Fi thermostats with easy-to-use smartphone apps can motivate homeowners to buy and install demand-response-ready devices -- on their own dime and with the encouragement and support of home centers.


Imagine how your demand response business model would change (for the better) if you didn't have to roll a truck to install each and every DR device. According to Jeremy, that day has arrived. - Jesse Berst


By Jeremy Eaton


Managing demand is becoming as integral to utilities as overseeing supply. This sea change is largely a function of regulatory requirements, although cost control and energy reliability play significant roles as well. Regardless, for demand response, energy efficiency and similar programs to pay dividends, customers must be engaged and invested.


But here’s the catch: consumers and their electric companies don’t have the same priorities. Research confirms that even though homeowners say energy efficiency and cost savings are a main concern, it’s largely comfort, convenience and control that shape and guide their behavior.


Fortunately, by recognizing this dichotomy and embracing cultural and technical trends, utilities can enhance program participation. If they give consumers what they want, they will get peak and baseline reductions in return.


The importance of connected devices

Connected devices are the tip of a prominent technology spear that cuts a new and far-reaching path to more effective, meaningful engagement. For utilities, this means employing technology like Wi-Fi thermostats together with mobile apps that offer easy programming and control from any location. (Honeywell’s data shows that 85% of app-driven thermostats actually get scheduled, solving an age-old issue associated with programmable comfort controls.)


The by-product? Energy efficiency and a whole new set of tools for utilities to reach and interact with customers, and establish a lasting connection.