I’d been hearing about smart energy software developer Tendril rolling out an open API for its Tendril Connect platform for some time but hadn’t heard much in the way of who would develop on the platform and how it might ever impact consumers.
Well the company partnered with Dutch utility Essent N.V., which serves over 2 million customers, in a contest to develop the best application to engage consumers on the platform. The program made available smart meter data from 140 of Essent’s customers to developers to play with and develop a third party application for.
The two winners are snApp, an iPhone app with a dial that shows customers their real-time energy usage. And iWattMeter, which shows energy usage over time, giving customers insight into their historical usage and time-of-use trends.
While neither of these apps sound groundbreaking, I definitely can see them having value for utility customers, particularly on mobile devices. It would be very telling for a customer to know immediately what happens to their energy draw when they unplug that barely used second fridge or when they turn off their pool heater.
To my mind, it’s all about making the user experience easy and simple, but I think everyone will be surprised at how much people might self-correct their energy usage if they could see real-time and historical usage. Moreover, I think if these apps then factored in utility rates, and told consumers immediately what their energy habits were costing them, it would be even more powerful, not to mention advertising space on these apps for efficient appliances would have major value. This could be the mobile connected successor to Opower’s mailed reports.