Photo by Jaymi Heimbuch
On a panel at Green:Net, Microsoft Hohm's Troy Batterberry and Google PowerMeter's Edward Lu talk about the very different perspectives the two companies take on the market for energy management. While Google sees this as an interesting field worth pursuing and eventually figuring out how to monetize it, Microsoft is looking specifically about how to build a business around home energy management and data platforms.
Microsoft is very much about looking at the potential of the energy management market and seeing where there is potential for making money by helping people save money. Microsoft has already linked up with Ford, which will utilize Hohm as it dives farther into electric vehicles. Drivers will be able to use Hohm to monitor and manage the energy their cars use during charging.
Meanwhile, Google has begun partnering with utilities to link up homes with energy data, as well as The Energy Detective - a device that allows home owners to measure energy consumption in their home. But they aren't as driven to create big revenues right away. Instead, they're going to poke around and see where the market leads them, a strategy that has worked quite well for the company in other areas.
Many IT companies are eager to move into energy management. They recognize that the smart grid needs them - from back-end software at utility companies to data security to dashboards in consumers' homes and offices - and the ways in which they can make money from the power source all the way to the power outlets in buildings are practically endless. Additionally, as the electric vehicles roll off assembly lines, software for managing power consumption will be vital if consumers are to make the switch. Intel and Cisco are both staking out claims as IT giants for energy management, and no doubt every big software company is busy figuring out where their talents fit in to the puzzle.
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