Retailer giant Best Buy is launching a modest push into home energy products, planning to sell gadgets that can help home owners cut their energy consumption, and have lower energy bills. Best Buy will sell the gear via dedicated sections of three of its brick and mortar stores and also through a new Home Energy portal on its website.
Cnet says Best Buy will announce more detailed plans at the BSR conference in San Francisco on Friday. On Sunday, Best Buy will launch the Home Energy sections at stores in Chicago, Houston, and San Carlos, Calif. The online Home Energy portal is live now (check it out and tell us what you think).
Best Buy has been selling the Nest learning thermostat via its online store already, and said in a forum that it has seen overwhelming demand. I ordered one this week via the Best Buy online site, and it won’t arrive until mid-Jan. 2012. The thermostat is sold out until 2012, and Nest had to close its online store.
Best Buy will sell other home energy products in the Home Energy section of its online store, like ThinkEco’s smart plug, Honeywell’s connected thermostats, and Goal Zero’s solar products. Best Buy will also sell more general digital home control products via the section like Schlage’s automated door locking and unlocking system, home control gear from Insteon, Panasonic Surveillance cameras, and iZon wireless networked video apps. I would think that home owners interested in home energy gear would want to package it with non-energy products like wireless video surveillance, alarm systems and security products.
As I said last month, the intersection between the Internet of things and energy is coming. Using networks and silicon to have an influence on home energy and efficiency is the next logical step to the Internet of things. For example, Nest uses connectivity and algorithms to learn your home’s heating and cooling behavior and can shave 20 to 30 percent off your energy bill, through practices like turning off the HVAC when you’ve been gone for two hours (it’s got sensors inside and knows when you’re there or not).
Other consumer electronics giants have been eying the home energy management space. Belkin has been focused on adding energy efficiency to home office gear like smart plugs and lighting. After Google and Microsoft shut down their home energy software tools earlier this year, I put together this list of a dozen companies looking to sell into the home energy management space.