Back in 2006 we starting working on a project with the vision of developing a platform that could be used as the foundation for the connected home. In today’s terminology we would call it the IoT for the home. This included health care monitoring, security, automation and energy management. Our original intentions were to provide a platform that our partners and customers could build on.
As we developed our strategy it became clear that there was a collision of energy and the environment, it was escalating at a very rapid pace and becoming a global issue for governments, policy makers, Utilities and consumers. Because of this, we decided to focus our efforts on home energy management and built our own solution which became Microsoft Hohm back in 2009.
Microsoft Hohm evolved into a free online beta application designed to help customers save energy, money and enable the smart grid to contribute to carbon emission reduction. Hohm was also Microsoft’s first end to end application built on our cloud platform Azure. Hohm was very sophisticated even by today’s standards as it allowed customers to better understand their usage, get recommendations and start saving money and help the environment. It was an exciting and fun time developing Hohm as you can see by these videos here and here.
As many of you know, we retired Hohm in May 2012. There are lots on interesting stories behind the demise of Hohm which I could elaborate on over a beer or two but I believe our fundamental mistake was not sticking to what we do best which is delivering a great platform for our partners and customers to innovate on.
Why do I reminisce? Because we at Microsoft have gone back our roots as being the absolute best productivity and platform company in a mobile first, cloud first world and are THRILLED that our partner, Schneider Electric, has utilized Azure and announced Wiser Air, a Wi-Fi connected thermostat and demand response management system.
Introducing Wiser Air!
Wiser Air provides a powerful customer engagement platform, enabling residential and small commercial consumers the ability to participate in energy-saving events and interact with their utility in real-time. Schneider Electric brings to bear their industry-leading innovation in technology and business alignment in bringing Wiser Air to market and we are proud to be their partner. Schneider has done a great job of leveraging their tremendous assets across the company to differentiate Wiser Air from the competition. For example, Wiser Air also incorporates Schneider Electric's award-winning Weather Solutions, already used by hundreds of utilities, to provide accurate forecasts and alerts, and provide consumers with key information to increase home comfort and energy efficiency. Ultimately these features enable utilities to engage customers with information they can use to make wiser choices regarding energy use while maintaining comfort. Being a bit of a weather nut myself, I find this to be very exciting!
There’s an abundance of other key features such as the integration for web and mobile across any device allowing homeowners to control their home from anywhere, control and customization for homeowners, straightforward energy usage information that is verifiable, state-of-the art touch thermostat is embedded with ZigBee & Wi-Fi communications, a comfort boost feature enables homeowners to adjust temperature for a quick impact without changing the thermostat settings, energy use of connected appliances, a sophisticated analytics platform to deliver actionable information to consumers and integration to AutoGrid’s real-time demand response platform. I could go on and on but I encourage you to take a look at the full list of features here. One important principle that is at the heart of Wiser Air is that you are not the product, you are the customer which is yet another market differentiator.
As you can tell, we are very excited to be working with Schneider and all of this makes Wiser Air the Wisest Choice for enhanced customer engagement and driving greater energy efficiency! May the Cloud be with You! – Jon C. Arnold