Products & Services
Our findings of existing products and services related to the research focus.
Interesting article on how removing lanes from certain roads can help traffic flow more smoothly while making the streets safer for cyclists and pedestrians.
In the movie they show Valencia Street in San Francisco - and I can say having cycled on booth the old road and now the road on a diet - it is such a pleasant difference.
Car company Hertz " is going for the jugular by expanding its own car-sharing capabilities in New York City, an important market, and by slashing fees and guaranteeing car availability."
"Hertz said it will expand pick-up locations for car sharing members to more than 100 spots in New York City, Philadelphia, Washington DC and other markets. Hertz also said it will allow its members to drop off cars at a different location than they pick up."
The standard energy monitor these days is an (often wireless) display for only this purpose: showing your levels of energy consumption. This is an obvious choice, but it is destined to be neglected in everyday life. Since we are not yet used to keeping an eye on our energy consumption, we just don't look at it. Even if it's as nice as a Wattson -- where should it be placed, anyway? It just won't fit with any other objects in the home, neither aesthetically nor functionally.
But there are some promising alternatives to the mainstream:
We might not look at a device just for energy monitoring, but what if it also shows you weather information, your public transport schedule, and includes a family messaging board?
An excellent example is Intel's Home Energy Dashboard concept. It is designed to be placed in your hallway, to assist you in various routines when leaving your home or coming back.
These systems tend to be expensive and are currently mostly in a concept stage.
In-context ambient display
These display the energy consumption right where it is happening, usually at the power plug. They can draw more attention to themselves as energy consumption increases.
The Energy Joule by AmbientDevices does that and also provides additional information on energy prices and weather. This works well for some, but not for others where the plug is usually hidden (washing machine, fridge, ..). Also, costs (and distraction) quickly add up for additional plugs.
Integration with common household objects
So why not integrate it with already existing objects around the home? In every household there's a clock, a light, a key board, light switches, etc. Smoothly integrating the monitor with one of these solves the question of where to put it, and if chosen wisely will also integrate into daily routines.
Two good examples that display a nice clock are the Energy Aware Clock and the Tendril Vision. Of course these have a design of their own and still might not fit with your home's style.
Others: Flower Lamp, digitalStrom
Online & smartphone
And then you can have no permanent display at all. Since we're spending so much time at the computer anyway, and so many people have smartphones, we might as well put the control there. Access it when you need it, but otherwise ignore it. Because of the latter (and maybe a potential lack of reliability) most of these offerings come as an add-on to a physical device.
OPower provides a whole suite of online and offline media, and Energy UFO is an iPhone app for just that purpose. An advantage of these systems is that they allow much more detailed information and control without overburdening users.
None of these is an optimal solution, as of course any additional source of information brings an interruption with it. As sensitivity for this topic increases, if it tells you something you are interested in, you will look at it.
Mit Daten zum Heizenergieverbrauch und Kosten geordnet nach Energiequelle (Fernwaerme, Heizoel, Erdgas). Koennte vielleicht noch einmal nuetzlich sein...
Another smart metering device & web platform to monitor electricity consumption in households. Doesn't seem to be any different from other systems. Flukso however seems to be more successful, maybe because Flukso somehow looks 'open', more like Arduino, Fritzing, etc.
Works similar to other energy meters (e.g. Wattson) however, here the data is displayed entirely and only on the Flukso website. You may share your data and (supposedly) connect with other users. Looks very straightforward and easy to use. Seems to be a lot more successful and active than the 'Wattson'.
Haven't looked into all of their products and services but they surely are one of the big players. They develop all sorts of solutions to make the smart grid reality.
Some pictures of their products:
An online energy engagement system that can be incorporated with any smart metering system the user may have. Drawing from behavioural sciences you may now set your own goals that you want to commit to, monitor your progress, analyse your consumption, etc. It provides an environment for taking action, ongoing communications, reinforcement and support for those actions. The system supports electricity and gas operations as well.
They also produce a very simple monitor that can be used at home to instantly check whether you're on plan with your set goal or need to change your behaviour. The monitor simply shows green, yellow and red bars.
The company was now bought by Tendril, an energy management firm.
PACT is a ready-to-use personal carbon trading scheme for companies that allows staff to track and manage their carbon impact outside of work.
Participating companies need to pay a fee and then get the tools (website, marketing materials) that allow for their staff to participate in the scheme.
Staff is given a personal carbon allowance for their home emissions and then they need to track their consumption via the online portal. At the end of the year, those under their allowance receive a bonus in their salary, those in the carbon red pay into the scheme.
The interested internet surfer can find huge amounts of tips and tricks for energy conservation, green investments, or efficency. The (federally funded) co2online has a huge variety of "energy consultants" available that ask the user for some hard facts and come up with decent help and information. It even gives you a list of companies who could help you installing some solar panels, a new heating, etc.
This is also a good reading for us designers in order to know what information is more or less "mainstream".
Btw., these consultants are also integrated into the website of verivox, one of the main (German) resources to compare electricity, gas, phone, internet rates. So, it has some reach...
"Aus dem Tor zur Welt wird die Metropole der neuen Mobilität! Ab Frühjahr 2011 gesellt sich die Hansestadt Hamburg in den illustren Kreis der car2go Standorte. 300 niegelnagelneue car2go edition wird die neugegründete car2go Hamburg GmbH in Kooperation mit der dort ansässigen Europcar GmbH auf die Straßen schicken – zunächst. Eine Erweiterung des Angebots wurde schon in Aussicht gestellt."
For more information: Car2Read-Article
'3rd generation carsharing' means taking a car wherever it is (plus searching and reserving via internet) und whenever it is needed. And you can leave it whereever you want.
For more info: car2go-Website
This app helps you navigate the shopping aisles when searching for healthy, ethical and sustainable products.
By scanning the barcode of products, the Guide shows detailed ratings for health, environment and social responsibility for more than 50,000 products and companies.
They gather the information from databases, private companies, consumer advice centers, research institute and the companies themselves.
This is an application for iPhone and iPad that helps people keeping track of the power consumption at their homes. Copy the reading from the home electric meters and the app calculates how many kilowatt hours you will consume in the next 30 days. It’s a way to compete with oneself, trying to remain below the estimate.
This meter monitors your car driving habits, how you accelerate and how much fuel you’re wasting.
iPhone App by Hunter Research and Technology, LLC
RCA industrial design graduates developed this smart meter and now placed it on the market with their new startup. It has several features: Showing energy consumption, comparing yourself with other via the Wattson community, analysis software for your computer, ambient awareness, etc. I think it's very well executed. It doesn't come too cheap though: 129 pounds.
So. I guess we don't want to simply do our own version of that, do we?!