Connected home: Growth opportunity for utilities? – report

connected home
According to Holger Knoepke, vice president for the connected home at Deutsche Telekom, utilities’ inaction, in terms of remaining purely a commodity provider, could mean falling foul against legislation that will bring about in-day switching

German telecommunications company Deutsche Telekom has released a new report detailing how utility companies can leverage the ‘connected home’ to create value for their business and engage in a positive relationship with customers.

The report entitled, ‘How To Create Growth From The Connected Home’, explores the way in which utilities can look to increase adoption of smart home technologies, with the employment of practices such as smart pricing to drive growth.

The Deutsche Telekom report also suggests that utilities use their retention channels, as well as developing new channels to market, employing affinity partnerships to accelerate development.

Says Holger Knoepke, vice president for the connected home at Deutsche Telekom: “The value of connected homes becomes even greater when there is interconnection with other adjacent categories.

“For instance, the linking of heating, energy management and security brings with it many intrinsic advantages to multiple range of providers, directly or indirectly.”

Connected Home for customer engagement

The report outlines how home energy management services (HEMS) can enable utilities to create a positive interaction with their customers, through the visualisation, monitoring and controlling of their energy use.

The report also recommends that smart thermostats and data from other connected home technologies, such as smart meters and home security systems, create an opportunity for utilities to assist customers to manage their energy better.

Replicating telco best practices

The report makes further recommendations to follow in the footsteps of telecom companies, where appliances are offered to customers on a subsidised basis, using demand disaggregation technology and smart meters to provide flat rate charges.

In doing so, a utility may differentiate itself and result in new revenue streams, increased customer loyalty and improved customer retention, said Mr Knoepke.

Knoepke added: “For home owners, the developments that will be enabled for the connected home could allow us to benefit from new flexible tariff structures that enable them to pay less for energy, when there is excess supply and only run energy hungry appliances, such as washing machines or tumble dryers, when the cost is negligible.”

The VP went on to say that utilities are to offer open platforms for connected home technologies with seamless connectivity to fully realise and benefit from the forecasted growth in the connected home market.

Knoepke concluded: “Not only do open platforms allow manufacturers and service providers from all industries to connect together, but they also offer translation services between different devices…”

“For customers, an open platform provides much better usability than several closed systems with limited features. For companies, a common foundation greatly accelerates the development of products and services with the benefit that virtuous circle can be created as multiple innovations arise from within the ecosystem.”