This project, in partnership with the Customer Innovation Technologies Team, was designed to evaluate the viability of novel smart home product solutions for income eligible (IE) customers without broadband internet access.
Smart home platforms offer opportunities for residential customers to reduce energy use, but some customers may be left out, including those without broadband internet access. New products present potential to decrease technological and cost barriers to these platforms. The project team planned to install smart plug equipment to meet customer needs as well as monitoring equipment into the homes of participating income eligible customers. The team would quantitatively and qualitatively assess the end-user experience of a smart home platform for these participants, including use cases, ease of installation and use and typical bill savings from the different installed measures.
Results and Outcomes
Technical obstacles with the equipment could not be overcome, and field evaluation was canceled before customer installations began. Additional evaluation by the project team of broadband and non-broadband smart home platforms revealed a clear difference in functionality between the two categories, with current non-broadband smart home platforms lacking features compared to their broadband counterparts. The Customer Innovation Technologies Team will use this evaluation to further formulate a strategy for engagement with customers lacking broadband internet access.