The Internet has changed how people interact, shop, and get their news. Now, a green tech start-up is betting that it will also change how homes and businesses consume electricity.
Today, People Power Company will announce a cloud based energy management service called Energy Services Platform (ESP). ESP can manage and control any connected appliance or device, and reports energy usage down to the plug level.
ESP is designed to support four main functions: monitor, control, compare and compete, said Gene Wang, CEO, chairman and founder of People Power. As a whole, it is nothing less than a play to change consumer behavior through a combination of cost savings and social inducements.
ESP enabled devices stream data into the cloud, which is turned into actionable intelligence. A browser based management console offers a veritable Swiss Army knife of tools for people to produce reports and set rules to lower their utility bills.
Reports are presented in a dashboard layout that appeals to austerity. A household’s monthly electricity budget is displayed as a gauge that was modeled after a fuel gauge in a car to help consumers understand their consumption. People can also make personal decisions about how to save energy.
“[ESP] has a very flexible rules engine. If my wife says that my son can only watch TV for one hour a day, the TV turns itself off after an hour,” Wang said. “If your PC goes into standby, then it can turn off the printer and monitor,” or you can turn down a Wi-Fi enabled thermostat. It also triggers user-defined alerts.
In that same vein, Power Power intends to partner with manufacturers to advertise new energy saving products to replace any recognized energy hogs.Users must set up device profiles, but a future edition of the platform will instantaneously recognize devices by their energy signature.
It will say, “Click here and buy a new device that will pay for itself in seven months and then save money you,” Wang explained. People Power may receive royalties for the sale.
More competitive users can compare their energy consumption with anyone else in the world – including “competitors,” and even post their progress on Facebook.
People Power has devised another unique incentive to encourage conservation: the possibility of winning games. The strategy is based upon ARPA-E (Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy) funded work with partner Stanford University.
The groups or individuals who conserve the most energy relative to others can win simple games, Wang said. “We understand the requirement to make things fun and interesting. We’re also experimenting with age appropriate stuff like Girl Scout competitions.”
However, People Power must win manufacture’s mind share before Girl Scouts can solve the energy crisis. The company is courting manufactures of appliances, electronics, office equipment and power strips to adopt its platform while it prepares to roll out its commercial offerings.
People Power has developed a platform called OSIAN (Open Source IPv6 Automation Network) for partners to build an energy control layer into their products. ESP works with devices that embed its white label “SuRF” hardware module, or any Wi-Fi or ZigBee enabled products.
Wang said that the ESP platform would help manufactures surface energy savings to customers. Its current partners include D-Link, Esprida, Ricoh Innovations, and Texas Instruments.
“We believe that the world is moving to an Internet of things. Where there are under two billion connected devices today, the [Internet] will move to over 100 billion connected devices over the next ten years,” Wang said.