Home appliances waste more energy than you might think. Incandescent light bulbs consume 20 percent to 80 percent more electricity than energy-efficient alternatives, like compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) and light-emitting diodes (LEDs). A single dishwasher, meanwhile, can draw over 1,800 watts per cycle. That's why Hasty Granbery, former director of software engineering at PayPal, in 2015 founded Currant, a Palo Alto startup devoted to creating smart home devices that reduce energy consumption. In November 2018, fresh off a $7 million funding round, Currant debuted its first AI-powered product -- the Currant Smart Outlet.
The trifecta of IoT, Cloud and Analytics have been transforming many aspects of our lives and business. Cities, healthcare, transportation, farming, fitness, home, manufacturing and utilities have been the key beneficiaries of this fast-emerging paradigm. While consumer devices like Fitbit and Amazon Alexa get lot of attention from the media, the commercial buildings have been quietly turning into Software Defined Buildings (SDB). By doing so they are not only lowering the operational cost of the building, but also foster smarter cities, better safety, and occupant comfort. As such they have become an important market segment in the IoT space.
Is your garage door opening right now? Is your washing machine running? A growing number of products attempt to give consumers data on the sources of their household energy use--crucial data for home efficiency efforts and utility peak-hour conservation programs. But Sense, a startup in Cambridge, Massachusetts, is the first to offer a consumer product that reads incoming household power levels a million times per second--enough to tease out telltale clues to which specific appliances, even low-wattage ones, are operating in real time. "It's at the cutting edge of what I have seen people attempting in this area," says Michael Baker, a vice president at SBW, an energy efficiency consultancy in Seattle.
More and more, retailers are blanketing the media with advertisements for new smart home devices. Smart thermostats, smart appliances and smart electronics, video doorbells and security cameras, and virtual assistants are all (supposed to be) making life easier and more connected for consumers. The prospect of using these Internet of Things (IoT) devices to consume less energy, save money, and increase home efficiency has me tempted. And if individual devices can offer these benefits, wouldn't it be even better if I could connect them all into my own personal ecosystem? Unfortunately, when it comes to smart home AI, I'm a digital dummy, and like a lot of people, when it comes to figuring out how to program and manage smart devices, I've got a limited tolerance for pain.