Article - Issue 45, December 2010
Innovation Watch - Home area network for energy visibility and control
Home area network for energy visibility and control
AlertMe’s simple self-install consumer home energy monitoring kit
The energy industry has continually transformed itself. Recent decades have seen the rise and fall of North Sea gas and oil, liberalisation of the market in the UK and unprecedented competition. However, the forthcoming transformation could be the greatest yet both for the industry and its customers, a perfect environment for technology and innovation, according to the UK company, AlertMe.
AlertMe Smart Energy was launched at the end of 2009. It allows consumers to see their energy use, both in real time and historically. This enables them to identify where they are wasting energy and make changes to save in the region of 15-25% on their energy use and bills.
Pilgrim Beart, the co-founder of AlertMe, explains that the platform engages the customer in a sustainable change in behaviour that saves them money and reduces their carbon footprint. “AlertMe offers a flexible and expandable platform for many more services in the home that can be monitored and controlled remotely, anywhere, anytime online.
AlertMe uses the ZigBee networking protocol to network devices wirelessly in the home, including a smart meter if present, and a Linux-based computer operating system running on a ‘home-hub’ gateway that keeps the home synchronised with remote ‘cloud’ computing services. ZigBee sensors use so little energy that the combined energy consumption of 300,000 sensors would be less than that consumed by one light bulb. This arrangement allows consumers to view and control their home in real time from any location online via the web or mobile phone.
By streaming whole house energy consumption and analysing this usage with analytic algorithms the product can give advice such as lowering wash temperatures, even estimating the annual saving the consumer will see as a result.
Pilgrim Beart says that: “The global home energy management market is just starting to take off and, according to research company ON World, is predicted to generate revenues of up to $3.3 billion in 2014, led by Europe and the USA. AlertMe is perfectly positioned to provide consumers and partners with the most innovative and flexible solutions for energy management based on the consumer’s home area network.”