In a new report Pike Research estimates that there will be just over one million users of home energy management systems (HEMs) worldwide in 2011. But by 2020 the figure is expected to reach 63 million, including cumulative shipments of IHDs (In-Home Displays) along with active users of web dashboards and mobile applications.
In fact, though, this is a downgrading of the research firm’s previous forecast. At the midpoint of the forecast period in 2015, HEM users are expected to reach 13 million – a previous forecast published in the fourth quarter of 2009 predicted 28 million users by that time. The lower estimate is put down to slower than anticipated adoption by utilities, along with a relative lack of pull from consumer demand.
Research Director Bob Gohn said that “The home energy management revolution will be delayed, but market growth will still be substantial by 2020. Utility programs are picking up steam, and are aided in some regions by a strong government push. In addition, new technologies such as electric vehicles will be a significant driver of HEM adoption in the long term.”
The report maintains the HEM market is beginning to take shape as utilities look for ways to reduce peak demand and provide consumers with energy efficiency tools as part of their smart grid initiatives. HEM vendors are seeking to be ‘the face’ of the smart grid by providing consumers with actionable energy consumption information, often derived from smart meters.
In fact, though, the market is still highly fragmented, with an increasingly crowded competitive landscape and a range of solution types, many no more than simple displays. Gohn says that in the next few years the market will include not only the current competitors, but also digital home companies such as consumer electronics manufacturers and broadband service providers, who have an increasing interest in adding energy management to their offerings.
Well home energy management is going to be a big market, potentially involving managing a wide range of devices and appliances and integrated with a home area network (HAN). But when and how it grows is very dependent on a number of factors, as Pike points out. The rate of implementation of smart grids, the availability of variable tariffs (which will give real financial rewards from energy management), the adoption of electric vehicles and the availability of other capabilities and services will all impact the rate of adoption. It’s all likely to be piecemeal and, to some extent, inter-dependent. It makes for an unpredictable market and difficult forecasting as various aspects come to the fore.
Certainly there will be competition for a dominant position in home energy management because, at least for the moment, it represents the gateway to the connected home.