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New Business Moment: Home Energy Management and Electric Vehicles Rescue the Power Grid

by Chet Geschickter  |  June 16, 2014  |  Submit a Comment

Peter Sondergaard recently posted on Gartner’s definition of d-business. Within Gartner Industries Research, our colleague Don Scheibenreif launched an initiative to create industry-specific digital business moments to create tangible examples.

Briefly, Gartner defines a business moment as: a transient opportunity that is exploited dynamically. In the context of digital business, a business moment is a brief everyday moment in time and the catalyst that sets in motion a series of events and actions involving a network of people, businesses and things that spans or crosses multiple industries and multiple ecosystems

Zarko Sumic and I hopped on the opportunity  to write a research note that describes a digital business moment for utilities. The title of the note is Business Moment: Home Energy Management and Electric Vehicles Rescue the Power Grid. If you are a Gartner client, you can access the note here.

Here, I’ll elaborate a little on each of the actors in a business moment: people, things and businesses, and some realizations (“aha moments”) that the exercise provided.

People – the actual engagement of people in our asset-centric vehicle to grid moment is quite limited. The home energy management system – a thing (see below) – is the agent actor that represents the financial interests and lifestyle preferences of the customer. Admittedly, this is a vastly expanded vision of home energy management. However, if you take it at face value, you could use it to help rationalize the $3.2 billion price that Google paid to acquire Nest . The customer involvement is really quite limited to making executive decisions about whether to accept offers and receive payments.

Things – there’s a number of things in this moment: the home energy management system mentioned above, an energy storage device that belongs to the homeowner, or that the homeowner has access to, a transformer, a vehicle location system for a work crew, a smart thermostat, and an electric vehicle. By the way, not only do I want a Tesla – which was a very cool test drive – my 13 year old son announced last week that if he makes it to the NBA, he will buy one. Note to automakers here come the millenials – and they’re gonna want EVs! Anyways, the important takeaway is that these Internet of Things devices communicate with each other to share their status and to negotiate to achieve outcomes based on the parties that own them and the interests they have.

Businesses – the plural is very important here. There are multiple businesses engaged in the moment. In addition to the utility, there is a bank, a weather service, and a demand aggregator. This is a vastly expanded world from the hierarchical, centralized and stochastic world of utility and ratepayer. The utility still provides power, but multiple other businesses will begin to create, deliver, use (and reuse) power as well. Energy creation and use will become a collective endeavor.

The catalyst for the moment is simple. The customer wakes up in the morning. This sets into motion a whole chain of events. So if you can get out of bed, you can create a moment. Just think of your feeling of accomplishment from doing next to nothing – sounds pretty good, right?

We are entering a very interesting time – even for asset centric industries like the power industry that have been operating on the same fundamental model for nearly a century. Significant changes are ahead. Watch for more business moments from Gartner.



Tags: business-moment  electric-vehicle  home-energy-management  smart-grid-2  utility-industry  

Chet Geschickter
Research Director
2 years at Gartner
22 years IT Industry

Chet Geschickter specializes in the customer life cycle process and renewable energy within the Energy and Utilities industry research team.. Read Full Bio

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