Slightly ahead of the smart meter invasion and Google’s PowerMeter, Craig Mundie announced that Microsoft is getting into the home energy monitoring game with a free online service called Hohm. “Microsoft Hohm demonstrates how a combination of advanced software and Internet-based services can help people track, understand and manage their personal energy usage,” states Mundie in a company release.
Like many tools and dashboards, the online service allows users to input their homes’ features and usage statistics to generate recommendations on saving electricity. But there are a couple of tricks to Hohm that set it apart.
First, if a user declines to input values or doesn’t provide a comprehensive home energy profile, Microsoft will derive recommendations based on data from other users and national averages. A nice feature, but the next one is even better. Microsoft is partnering with utilities and providing them SDKs to allow users to upload consumption data straight into Hohm for a more precise energy measurement and recommendation platform all round.
After all, you can’t manage what you can’t measure (I’m sure you’ve heard that from one IT vendor too many). Partner utilities include Puget Sound Energy, Sacramento Municipal Utility District, Seattle City Light and Xcel Energy.
Better still, Microsoft is working with Itron and Landis+Gyr for smart meter integration. It will be interesting to see how Microsoft and Google battle it out in this arena.
Also of note, Microsoft states that Hohm runs on the company’s own Windows Azure cloud computing platform; is based in part on “advanced analytics licensed from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the U.S. Department of Energy;” and also uses Bing search. Wonder how they came to that decision…
Currently in beta, interested parties are asked to supply an email so that Microsoft can contact you when it becomes officially available, presumably very soon. You can also watch a Microsoft-supplied video of what Hohm looks like in action after the break.
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