This is a very US focused solutions, and it is hardly an app, but its transformative potential is significant. It is not an attempt not to make the invisible visible like so many other initiatives, but to make the important/boring/invisible attractive/interesting/visible. This shift is highly interesting and Matt Rogers carry what Apple does well into an area that is important (it is sad to see Apple totally ignore any significant contribution to sustainability by staying only in the entertainment business).
The app acknowledge the need for a new perspective when it comes to energy/homes is important and in an interview Matt said “"We're bringing design, great technology, and artificial intelligence learning to the most unsexy industry possible".
The slightly less fun part of the app is that it is very much focused only on saving money, not changing framework and support new smart solutions. Even if that is a good initial sale strategy (not scaring away the many Americans that don’t understand how serious the world’s, and in particular the US, overconsumption of energy is) it will be a challenge as structural change is needed, and this app could provide that by providing people and progressive policy makers and smart companies with the opportunity to use the data and network created to put pressure on policy makes and old fossil companies that fight to keep an unsustainable energy/building infrastructure.
Still there are early days and if the Nest becomes a success it is likely that many other good things will happen as the basic ideas with the company point in an interesting direction.
This is how the creators describe the app:
In fact, 10% of all U.S. energy is controlled by thermostats. That’s the equivalent of 1.7 billion barrels of oil per year. But in most homes the thermostat is an unassuming beige box. It doesn’t matter if it’s a manual or complicated programmable thermostat, we do with it what we’ve always done: get up, walk over to it, and change the temperature. Every few hours. Every day. 1,500 times a year. We still try to save energy, of course. We turn down the thermostat when we can, we don’t set it too high or low. But we’re human. We forget. Until we see our energy bills.”
Read more about the app here: http://www.nest.com/
The best with the app/supporting initiative
+ Getting design and user-friendliness into the building sector.
+ Challenging a sector that knows close to nothing about innovation.
+ Available both for iOS and Android
The weak parts of the app/supporting initiative
- Only about money at this stage, would be great to be able to see the GHG savings and other savings that are beyond the direct financial as well as the transformative potential in the building sector.
- Only for US
- No clear link to smart ways to make the building more energy efficient, or even provider of renewable energy through strategic investments.
- It could encourage un-smart lock-in in the building stock by creating a feeling among home owners of activity where it is really about making a very stupid system slightly less stupid.
What could accelerate this app/supporting initiative into a world changer?
➢ Linking the monetary savings to strategic re-investments
➢ Teaming up with other stakeholders to create a vision/road-map for buildings that are net producers of renewable electricity.
How direct is the delivery of the result the app tries to achieve
- Long shot
The NEST tries to get people to save energy and it has some nice features, but it all depend on how people will use the app. Will be interesting to follow the development and the aggregated savings from this.
How transformative is it
- A new world
- A major shift
- A bit of a shake-up
- A gentle rocking
Bringing design to one of the most boring, but important, areas is a major shift. There are entrepreneurs in the building sector but when you look at many of the CEO’s and responsible in governments it makes the fossil industry look like radical green innovators. Hopefully NEST can help highlight how conservative and boring large part of the buildings/construction industry is.
How much does it encourage collaborations
How much are new networks supported
- Strong support for global networks?
- Currently encourages new forms of collaboration
- Provides interesting opportunities in the future
- Restricted to a small (expert) group
Not at all, but getting people connected that understand that they can destroy the simple business model in the energy sector (sell more electricity instead of providing what people actually need) is very interesting.
What synergies can be delivered
How well does it also solve other problems/generate solutions
- It solves everything
- Several important challenges
- Some important challenges
- Only one challenge
Getting the house connected and increase the intelligence open up for a number of opportunities.
Nine billion contribution
How global is it? Is it helping/will it help everyone on the planet
- Instant global equality
- Almost global
- Getting (incrementally) global
- Not applicable
This is a potentially weak part and where more work is needed. How can this transparency and function help drive transformative innovation, not just in old buildings, but in retrofitting.
Building on current trends
How well does it use current trends
- The app is setting new trends by itself
- Building on multiple trends
- Effectively building on one trend
- Not really building on any major trend
Basically it builds on peoples urge to save money and it does so by providing an attractive package that signal that the user does not have to be an engineer to do that.
How fast can it deliver
- It's already happening
- In the coming weeks
- In a year or so
- In a distant future (hopefully)
Saving money should happen pretty fast after the NEST is installed and new habits begin. The major question is however if the NEST will contribute any significant changes in the building/energy sector.
Does it support transformative transparency
- Brave new transparency
- Transparency that is innovative (never seen before)
- Increased transparency, but nothing innovative
- No increase in transparency
The innovative transparency for the NEST is more related to where the transparency happens (buildings) than how and that is often more important.