Mobile technology has significantly changed the way people approach daily tasks – and while it began with the smartphone, the trend has now made its way into our homes. While the process is already in motion now, in 10 years it will be ubiquitous.
Of course, the Internet of Things (IoT) will make our lives easier – but what’s more exciting is its potential to significantly change the way we consume energy. In just one decade or less, consumers will have more control over their own energy consumption than ever before. Instead of sitting on the sidelines, the Internet of Things revolution will empower everyday people with actionable insights to help them lead more sustainable lives. Here are three predictions on how IoT will continue to change the energy space by 2025.
Within 10 years, light switches will be archaic objects. Your devices will be able to automatically sense when you’re home – and how you move through the home – using a beacon in your smartphone (such as iBeacon, which was activated in iOS 7). This technology works by emitting a low-energy Bluetooth signal, which devices can detect and then use to estimate proximity. While retail stores have already begun implementing this (for example, to track how close you are to a check-out counter), we expect that the residential sector will account for the next big wave of adoption. In fact, Bluetooth receivers in your home will soon be able to interact with each other to determine your exact location through triangulation. The benefit to users? Less manual activity and smarter, more intuitive automation.
In addition to living more conveniently, we’ll also see a disruption of certain industries as a result of this shift. For example, because there will no longer be a need to drill holes in the walls to install switches, electricians will become consultants rather than installers, helping people program their homes wirelessly.
Energy is becoming more distributed: It is moving from giant coal-powered burners to localized sources, like small-scale solar and wind facilities. According to the EPA, energy-generating companies expect to add more than 20 gigawatts of capacity to the power grid this year alone. This is dominated by wind (9.8 GW), natural gas (6.3 GW) and solar (2.2 GW), which combine to make up 91 percent of the total additions. Furthermore, more households are installing solar panels, as prices for rooftop photovoltaic systems have dropped 29 percent from 2010 to 2013.
By 2025, more and more people will adopt residential energy-monitoring devices like Smappee. In fact, early adopters are already learning how to optimize their own production and consumption, becoming micromanagers of their own grids. By bringing together different measurements – from weather patterns to local energy prices – devices like Smappee can tell users when energy will be the cheapest or most expensive, delivering a truly connected service. In the future, as the need to micromanage resources becomes even more critical, this type of technology will move to the mainstream.
As the smart home revolution marches on, more people will use devices that can detect energy consumption in real-time, down to the appliance level – independent of any utility. These devices use advanced analytics to help consumers detect hidden energy guzzlers, creating personalized recommendations for users based on data gathered from their own homes. For example, Smappee can analyze your refrigerator’s efficiency and then prompt you to upgrade to a model that will reduce your overall energy use.
Utilities will still be needed in the future, of course, but consumer-centric smart home devices can give people greater insights into how they are using energy, and how they can manage it.