A year ago, I predicted that telcos and cable providers would start dabbling in energy management before the ball dropped into 2010. I was right. . . . though about a year too early. Now 2011 is the year this looks like its going to happen.


A little more than a year ago, I predicted in an article for GigaOM Pro (subscription required) that telcos and cable providers would start dabbling in energy management before the ball dropped into 2010. The idea was that the service providers could use their networks (fiber, cable, cellular) to connect with smart appliances, plugs, meters and thermostats in homes and create a sort of broadband-enabled smart energy efficient home.

I based the prediction back then on interviews with several startups selling into this market, as well as the broadband players themselves. Well, turns out that I was right…but about a year too early.

Now as we kick off 2011, the broadband-enabled smart energy home has finally made some real headway, which I describe in this post for GigaOM Pro (subscription required).

Milestones indicating that the telco smart energy home is becoming a reality include:


Earlier this year Consert, a startup with a home energy product that connects via cellular networks, jumped onto my radar when it announced that it raised $17.7 million from Verizon Ventures (the VC arm of Verizon), phone chip company Qualcomm, utility Constellation Energy and GE Energy Financial Services. And in late 2009 home automation and energy management iControl raised $45 million in funding from cable company Comcast, Intel Capital (VC arm of the chip giant), networking heavyweight Cisco, General Electric and security firm ADT, along with traditional VCs Kleiner Perkins and Charles River Ventures.

Yes, all of these moves are still experimental, but the service providers are clearly on the path of weaving energy management into their overall smart home offerings. Now we’ll see in 2011 if consumers will buy the services.

Read more about why all of these moves are important and what the future of the smart energy home will look like in my latest article for GigaOM Pro (subscription required).

Image courtesy of awoodvine.

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  1. Maybe it’s just to delay the dumb pipe provider they don’t want to be! And of course it’s additional money they can make with it.

  2. The new telco consumers: houses and things | thinkd2c Monday, January 3, 2011

    [...] the home energy management market, Katie Fehrenbacker points to these milestones as an indication things will be picking up in [...]

  3. Katie Fehrenbacher Monday, January 3, 2011

    @Spanwite. Agreed. It’s not out of the good of the planet for sure.

  4. Green Guide to CES 2011: Cleantech News and Analysis « Tuesday, January 4, 2011

    [...] will be demonstrating its new connected home service, complete with energy management, which the telco is piloting in New Jersey starting this month. Verizon will be using a product from startup 4Home, which was recently acquired by telecom gear [...]

  5. Katie – the creation and adoption of a home smart grid has been widely discussed and debated since 2007. To recycle and peddle this concept as your own prescient insight is disingenuous at best.

  6. Broadband providers are very creative when it comes to creative selling, bundling and taking that extra money from your wallet monthly just for the convenience “You always wanted but never heard of”. Yeah, and also never needed. I’ll have to see that smart home pilot for myself, test it, and then, if it is of reasonable use, maybe I’ll recommend it to some of my clients.

  7. Hug Energy Shuts Down Citing Weak Interest from Investors: Cleantech News and Analysis « Thursday, January 20, 2011

    [...] on scoring utility deals, which can take months and years to implement. Though, there has also been recent attention from the telcos and consumer electronics companies in the energy management space. But as we’ve mentioned pure play energy management gadgets [...]

  8. Grid Regulator: The Internet & Privacy Concerns Will Shape Grid: Cleantech News and Analysis « Tuesday, February 15, 2011

    [...] to help manage energy use and deliver pricing data, often via ZigBee radios — but if broadband takes over as the dominant route into the smart energy home, that could cause a problem for those [...]

  9. Grid Regulator: The Internet & Privacy Concerns Will Shape Grid Tuesday, February 15, 2011

    [...] assistance conduct appetite use and broach pricing data, often around ZigBee radios — though if broadband takes over as a widespread track into a intelligent appetite home, that could means a problem for those [...]

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