Amsterdam, The Netherlands --- (METERING.COM) --- August 12, 2013

Hundreds of representatives of stakeholders in the smart homes industry, including utilities, telcos and service and content providers, will gather during the annual European Utility Week in Amsterdam in October to discuss, amongst others, customer engagement and developing a strong business model for the sector.

“There is a growing consensus that in order for utilities, telcos, etc. to engage the consumer, they need to be firmly invested in understanding their behaviour,” says Zara Amer, producer of the Smart Homes track that forms part of European Utility Week. “There is such market potential for smart homes; it can offer the prospect of significant improvements in living standards for older or disabled people and healthcare features aside, it offers the rest of us the possibility of a more energy efficient and secure lifestyle.”

The overall theme of European Utility Week, ‘Pulling together in one direction,’ is of particular relevance to the smart homes market. It is still in its infancy and it will take time before it takes off on a mass scale.

“I think what’s impeding its growth is a lack of a standardised industry definition,” Amer continues. “Moving forward is going to be a collective effort that will require all key stakeholders to pull together in the same direction. And for that reason we all need to make sure we are talking about the same thing, i.e. we have one singular definition of what the smart home stands for at present and what it could be in the future.”
Stakeholders will speak up
David Purdy, director at the Energy Efficiency Deployment Office in U.K. and a headline speaker in the Smart Homes track at European Utility Week, agrees: “There are clear signs of stakeholders pulling together but in some respects it is quite early to judge. In Britain, for example, over the next five years there will be an unprecedented range of home energy management (smart home) solutions available to householders. Feed-in tariffs for solar have been available for some time now and the Green Deal launched this year. A Renewable Heat Incentive and smart meter rollout will follow. The supply chain is getting to grips with new policies and products and the interplay between them.

“Clearly stakeholders will speak up for their sector. The smart homes agenda will develop quickest when stakeholders pull together and speak up for the whole agenda and highlight the benefits of installing a combination of products.”
Platform approach required
Another speaker on Smart Homes is Yves Caseau, executive vice president at Bouygues Telecom in France, who says telcos need to expand their domain to find new growth, from telecommunications to digital life.

“An interesting property of digital life is that, because of its rising complexity, it may work better if operated, that is, with the remote assistance of an operator,” says Caseau. “Smart homes are one of the most concrete opportunities of this digital life field, the combination of a home, multiple connected objects, together with comfort and efficiency services bundled into ‘life moment scenarios’. This is indeed a growth sector, but it requires a platform approach, that is, the growth of an ecosystem with a long trail of home apps and services provided by third parties.”

Other Smart Homes speakers at European Utility Week include:

  • Making the smart home energy efficient – from customer engagement to embedding energy efficiency
    Jean-Paul Krivine, Project Director of Smart Energy - Smart Home, EDF, France
  • Consumer engagement and demand response: first results from Jouw energie moment project
    Charlotte Kobus, Innovator, Enexis, The Netherlands Sander Schouwenaar, Innovator, Enexis, The Netherlands
  • Importance of branding and marketing to raise customer awareness
    Nina Bhatia, Managing Director, BG Connected Homes, British Gas, UK
  • Customer responses to the smart home: results from E.ON’s thinking energy projec
    Christopher Rimmer, Smart Programme Manager, E.ON New Build and Technology, UK
  • M-Health and the role it is set to play in the advancement of smart homes
    Emre Tavsancil, Health Products Manager, Turkcell, Turkey
  • Testing for energy efficiency in a European wide study - One tonne Life
    Håkan Axelsson, Business Developer, Vattenfall, Sweden
  • Building the business model – lessons learnt from the market
    Edmund Barrett, International Product Development, RWE, Germany

European Utility Week 2013 takes place at Amsterdam RAI, The Netherlands, from October 15-17, 2013.

Special for smart-energy.com readers – as the official publication of European Utility Week 2013, smart-energy.com offers our readers 20% discount on conference registration or a FREE exhibition pass.