The “Smarts” in a Connected Home Is Coming

11/4/2013

A new era is coming where our homes won’t just be connected and energy efficient, they will also be intelligent, with the ability to make decisions based on realtime location data. Imagine driving home from work or a long vacation and, based on your location, your home adjusts the temperature. This is the next era of the connected home, and one company is looking to lay claim in this area.

Last week, EcoFactor, www.ecofactor.com, announced it was awarded a patent for the use of geolocation data from smartphones and other mobile devices for home energy-management services. The patent includes a unique method for using location-based information to adjust the temperature setting in the home. This can include when a consumer is on the way home or driving away.

This type of “smarts” is going to be essential as M2M and connected technologies move forward. Many consumers, in this day and age, don’t want to be bothered with changing settings manually or checking energy data. Rather, many want this to be done automatically.


Ecofactor’s executive vice president and cofounder John Steinberg, says the company believes the winning energy-management system will be the one that does the best job of adapting to people’s lives and preferences without requiring them to constantly make adjustments. With geolocation data, EcoFactor is positioned to enable energy-management systems to make decisions based on a consumer’s location.

The home energy-management market is a big one too, according to Navigant Research, www.navigant.com. The research firm says the market is expanding at a slow but steady pace, as new participants are looking to introduce products, and utilities are linking systems with demand-response programs.

Still, the barriers to wider adoption of such systems include the cost and perception of a long payback period, although some consumers will be motivated by rising electricity costs and by a desire to conserve energy. 

As the connected home, connected energy, and other connected initiatives move forward, the key will be solutions that can use data to make decisions without consumer involvement. EcoFactor, for one, has put its stake in the connected-home market with its latest patent.

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