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Interviewer: Anthony Holt
I'm with Jaime Silk, a Specialist Advisor in New Energy with Advisian who’s going to share some of his thoughts on the internet of energy.
Jaime, thank you for joining us.
My pleasure, Anthony.
What do you think are some of the mega themes or trends that are driving interest in the internet of energy?
I’d say that there a four megatrends. The first is new consumer energy assets. Consumers are buying new assets that offer fundamentally different energy choices - things like photovoltaic (PV), energy storage and electric vehicles or EVs. The pace of change can be remarkably quick, as we’re seeing with PV in Australia and the UK or the annual doubling of EVs in New Zealand.
The second big theme is big data, analytics, machine learning. Sensors are everywhere and analytics enable business to understand energy use and personal preferences in a way never possible before. We’ll know how and when to optimise the consumer experience, their preferences and costs in the energy systems and markets – whether in residential, industrial or commercial settings.
The third mega trend is the sharing social economy. Historically consumers have not wanted to talk about power and are hard to engage – but consumer changes in the social and sustainable economy mean people engage in entirely new transactive conversations. And finally, of course connectivity or the internet of things. Everything being connected allows us to glue these pieces together to deliver new services and release value locked up in the old commercial models.
IoT (Internet of Things) allows us to intelligently and seamlessly optimise against wholesale markets, consumer preferences, predictive costs or demand drivers like the weather and infrastructure costs. IoT then executes the response at the device level, like storage, EV or consumer appliances.
Why has it been so challenging to engage consumers in transactive grid models?
The industry has found it difficult to engage consumers in new models because historically consumer attention has been when they have had bill shocks and outages.
Transactive solutions – they go to the heart of what people do each day and why.
It’s pretty hard to engage in these conversations without understanding what engages each individual in a household. Even when you do begin to get to deeply understand your customer, new energy technologies, how they interact with our goals and lives, is a pretty complex dialogue to have.
Take something as simple as smart thermostat. To most people it does what the old thermostat did but with a lot more confusing options. Few people want more complexity in their lives so they do not engage.
So what do you think is changing to overcome this?
Good question. I guess to quote from the financial times ‘this year’s consumer electronics show is the craziest year. As the falling costs of sensors means the internet of things is finally a reality.’
We’re seeing the promised maturity of voice, artificial intelligence (AI), combined with analytics and our digital footprints meaning soon our personalised consumer dialogues are imminent.
Voice AI - it makes it convenient, easy and simple to do what you’re thinking. Intelligent personal assistants will facilitate convenient, personally-relevant dialogues. These are the catalyst to transform the IoT of energy to peripheral smart products dealing with devices, to being convenient and easy solutions that actually simplify our lives. And new assets, especially electric vehicles and storage, are particularly flexible in enabling consumers to meet their goals at different times to when their energy needs have to be supplied.
So together these megatrends are driving exciting innovation and create and opportunity across the energy value chain.
Jaime, thanks again for your time.
It’s been a real pleasure, Anthony. Thank you.