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Summary:

What happens when the bright minds that make up Google’s and Microsoft’s developer communities get their hands on open software tools focused on energy?: the hope, by many, is some much-needed innovation in the energy industry. This week Google officially opened up the API (application programming […]

What happens when the bright minds that make up Google’s and Microsoft’s developer communities get their hands on open software tools focused on energy?: the hope, by many, is some much-needed innovation in the energy industry. This week Google officially opened up the API (application programming interface) of its web energy tool PowerMeter, and Microsoft recently told us it has just released a software developer kit for its energy tool Hohm to a select number of gadget makers.

These moves by the web giants show that the era of open energy information is slowing coming. But will that lead to innovation, which can deliver applications and hardware that can convince consumers to curb their energy consumption? One crucial aspect will be how the developer community responds — on GigaOM Pro I looked at some of the important aspects that developers need to consider when looking to create applications and gadgets based on home energy management platforms (subscription required).

At the top of the list are: how to get the energy information to input into your application (with patience and creativity), how to deal with privacy and security concerns, and how to deal with standards issues.

Clearly it’s still very early days for energy information and the consumer. Mainstream consumers are largely not yet interested in buying home energy management gadgets, and PowerMeter has only signed up a couple thousand users.

And the landscape is also changing for energy information. The California Public Utilities Commission has said that it wants California’s investor-owned utilities to give their customers and approved third parties — which could include Google, Microsoft or other makers of energy data portals — access to the smart meter data collected in utilities’ back office servers by the end of 2010. By the end of 2011, the CPUC wants the utilities to provide customers and approved third parties with “near real-time” data from smart meters. This is still under development and the CPUC is holding a workshop later this month.

For more related GigaOM Pro Research:

Interview: Tim Brown, CEO and President of IDEO

New Opportunities in the Smart Grid

The App Developer’s Guide to Working with Ford Sync

  1. Great post! At Microsoft opening up the SDK is one part to push for innovative ideas. Our communities have been playing a large part in all of our updates for Hohm as well and the more feedback we can get the better Hohm will be. Reach out to us on Facebook and Twitter if you have some ideas of your own. Katie thanks for the mention.

    Elliott
    Online Community manager for Hohm

  2. Michael Colvin Friday, March 5, 2010

    The question becomes, will the end-use consumer want this data and will they want to respond to the price signals?

    1. I think it all boils down to bottom line, right? They’ll want the data if it’s near free, why not? So up to big players like Google/Microsoft.
      Consumers will respond if price jumps up, like $4 gas, so up to policy maker and utilities there.

  3. Different Shapes and Styles of Shoji lamps | Shoji Lamp Friday, March 5, 2010

    [...] The Developer Guide to Home Energy Management Apps [...]

  4. I wish I could get my hands on this software. My utility has no plans for this :(

  5. Get Your Open Source Home Energy Developer Kit, Courtesy of People Power Monday, March 15, 2010

    [...] a growing number of options out there for aspiring home energy app makers — this morning wireless energy management startup People Power released its software [...]

  6. Homer Automation Tuesday, March 16, 2010

    It’s a start, but a slowing one.

    And will all utilities supply this information for free? Probalby this will bring a price war on the Utilities market. Will this be interesting for the big players?

  7. Smart Grid Data: Too Much For Privacy, Not Enough For Innovation? Monday, March 22, 2010

    [...] new tools to help consumers save energy. Both Google and Microsoft are working on opening their home energy management systems to third party developers and a host of startups are working on devices and software that will interact with smart grid [...]

  8. The Developer Guide to Home Energy Management Apps at Smart Places Monday, March 22, 2010

    [...] The Developer Guide to Home Energy Management Apps: “” [...]

  9. 10 Things Outta the Smart Grid World of DistribuTECH Tuesday, March 23, 2010

    [...] the example of many startups, as well as IT giants such as Google and Microsoft, which both plan to open their nascent home energy management platforms to third-party developers as well. It’s all part of a growing push toward opening smart grid data [...]

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