The Home Energy Services Gateway connects energy service providers and device vendors with ‘real-world’ homes and consumers to trial new technologies, services and business models.
As smart technologies becoming a rapidly growing part of the economy, consumer devices and appliances – such as boilers, electric vehicles and fridges – are becoming connected to the internet.
However, while the number of connected things is on the rise, there is very little innovation by device vendors or energy suppliers to provide a coordinated ‘energy service’ offering that will help to decarbonise homes, optimise the end-to-end value chain and provide an overall beneficial experience for the householder.
Consumer research tells us that households value their experiences using energy, like getting comfortable, more than how they are delivered. If domestic customers have choice in the level of energy services they want and have confidence their service provider will deliver the experience they desire, a whole new range of energy service business models open up – which enable improved routes to market for low carbon heat, improved end-to-end energy system productivity and a more satisfied energy customer
To address this opportunity, the Energy Systems Catapult has developed a Home Energy Services Gateway (HESG), an IoT platform that captures data from sensor and control devices in the home and uses data science to provide unique and rich feedback from consumers. It was trialled during winter 2017-18 in a ‘Living-Lab’ of 100 homes.
The benefits of using HESG are:
- Householders – it enables comparison of services offerings from competing Energy Service Providers (ESPs) with a comparable language of service attributes and performance levels; and it enables use of their data to drive a market instead of being tied into a limited range of services locked to closed devices.
- Energy Service Providers – it establishes a common language with which to understand, shape and bound a householder’s service expectations; and it enables access to the critical data and devices that ESPs require to design, price and deliver innovative, high value services.
- Device vendors – it opens up a new channel to market and access to a new revenue stream in return for making their devices, or their device range, available to ESPs to establish new services. Device performance, usage permissions and any fees are defined in standard device class service level agreements, with governance to add, modify or retire a class.
This builds on the work undertaken by Cambridge Consultants and ourselves on the Home Energy Management System (HEMS) project in the Energy Technologies Institute’s Smart Systems and Heat programme. That project sought to accelerate the development of a consumer orientated HEMS with the system installed and tested in 30 homes during the winter of 2016.
Over winter 2017-18, residents in the Living Lab trialed the use of a “Heat Plan”, a brand new proposition that means the customer is buying a warm home rather than a kWh of gas. The Heat Plan is personalised to every consumers’ needs using on a number of connected devices in the home, such as temperature sensors, energy sensors and advanced heating controls.