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For Generation C, energy is social
The Internet of Things and Services (IoTS) has born a new term: Generation C – the C stands for “connected”. Let me quote the futurist and digital analyst Brian Solis: This generation has “digital prowess as part of their DNA. And, it’s the first generation to receive both a birth certificate and a social profile or presence upon delivery into this world.” Generation C’s digital lifestyle (e.g. smart phones, apping, social networking) imposes a new level of business creativity on established domains, for example the energy world. For more traditional business environments, Solis recommends “augmented engagement strategies” based on Generation C’s behaviors, needs, expectations and the online platforms this new “connected” customer base uses. So what does this mean for utilities and the supply chain around them?
The Internet of Things and Services extends the traditional value chain
Let’s come back to our initial example, energy, and pick electricity as commodity product. The simplified value chain has for a long time been around the generation, transmission, distribution and selling of electricity. In the IoTS, the value chain is augmented by a massive amount of data (you may have heard of Big Data), which can be used to provide consumers with new information services. In the electricity world, these data come from smart meters, connected household appliances, sensors, solar inverters or block heat and power plants (just to mention a few). Information services are a new (and predicted lucrative) playground for utilities, Energy Management Software (EMS) providers, application developers and IoTS platform providers.
Energy experience must fit to the digital lifestyle
Sharing and benchmarking your electricity data with your friends on social networks? Sounds odd at first glance, right? However, Generation C’s digital lifestyle is all about being connected and sharing information. Energy has to become a real experience: tangible and visual. Latest example is a free app available in the US, which lets home owners compare electricity consumption with their Facebook friends. Underlying assumption: The competitive spirit reduces individual consumption. But in the field of “social energy” there is more out there.
Social energy reference projects from the B2C and B2B worlds
When it comes to social monitoring of PV systems, it is not about the technical performance of your roof-top PV system, but it is its yield which matters and which is shared and compared among “solar friends” in a particular neighborhood, region or worldwide. You can even embed your PV performance in your personal or commercial website – a potential additional revenue stream for inverter manufacturers and PV monitoring software providers.
Honest Buildings is the most recent social media app for residential and commercial properties in New York City with the purpose of driving and comparing energy efficiency. Also here, social networking (as seen in LinkedIn) and competition are considered to be the drivers for this (still) free portal.
So no matter if in private or in business life, it seems that “social energy”, or better said peer pressure in Generation C through social media, has the power to make our world greener. My 2011 DINK (Double Income No Kids) electricity consumption was 2574 KWh (3-bedroom apartment). Anyone goes for less?