Big Three Ditch Home Energy Management Program for Now

  • Posted on: 24 October 2011
  • By: Patrick Oliphant

For a while Google and Microsoft were encouraging utilities and consumer to get connected through their solutions to learn more about their energy use.  Google launched the Google PowerMeter through it iGoogle platform, Microsoft launched Microsoft Hohm and Cisco launched the Home Energy Controller gadgets and software. They all promised information at our finger tips so we can make more informed decisions on how we use our home energy.

The solution seemed like a win for utilities, consumers, Google, Microsoft and Cisco, until the middle of this year, when one by one they announced plans to re-focus their resources away from home energy management.

I was at this year’s connected home summit in London when one of the delegates was singing the praises of the Google PowerMeter service. Apparently this presenter along with the others using these services weren’t enough to keep these businesses maintaining and developing the services.


According to Microsoft, “the feedback from customers and partners has remain encouraging throughout Microsoft Hohm’s beta period.  However, due to the slow market adoption of the service, we are instead focusing our efforts on the products and solutions more capable of supporting long-standing growth within this evolving market.”

Google’s reason for the discontinuation of Google PowerMeter is the project did not catch on the way they would have hoped and “we want satisfy the most pressing needs for the greatest number of people. In the case of these two products, our inability to scale has led us to focus our priorities elsewhere”.

“Over the past two years the home and building energy management markets have evolved in such a way that we believe we can provide more value to our customers and the industry by enabling interoperability through our core networking products and solutions …”, said Cisco Laura Ipsen on the company’s blog. “For energy management in the home, we will transition our focus from creating premise energy management devices to using the network as the platform for supporting innovative applications and architectures that will improve our customers’ value proposition in the consumer energy management market”.

What next?

With all that have been said I think they have just move these solutions to the back room until the infrastructure is fully in place. Of all the reports I have read the installation of smart meters is less then fifty percent in any of the developed countries. Some are countries are still piloting their smart grid solution. Thus the solutions from the likes of Cisco, Google and Microsoft may be a little too early. I also think that the energy analytic market is very competitive at the moment with more specialist firms competing.

For now I think the emphasis is on connected home entertainment, as it the fastest growing area in the connected home sector.  At the time of announcing discontinuation of the services they were announcing acquisitions of other connected home solutions. Microsoft bought Skype, Google bought Motorola mobility and Cisco will concentrate on the providing the communication infrastructure.

I think the big three will come back later when the roll out of smart meter is greater and smart grid infrastructure is in place. Specialist firms will be acquired to off a complete end to end service.