We've been out talking to customers today about smart technology and how it could be used in their homes. As part of our affordable warmth work we are partnering with Switchee to discover the answer to:
Can technology equip people to be more informed and educated about their home?
As part of the test we have targeted 20 homes - with a mix of styles, ages and customer groups to work with us over a year - to see if they can heat their homes more effectively.
Today we went out and spoke to customers to see if they were interested. We wanted to do this face to face to make sure they understood the test and how we will evaluate it.
Here's some things we found interesting:
People don't really understand the Smart Home just yet. It's early days for this tech and after a few blank faces we found we started explaining it as "like an app - but on the wall". All customers but one had smartphones - despite the wide mix of ages.
Data didn't appear to be a big concern. Despite all the reports of privacy being a major factor - customers didn't seem unduly worried about the prospect of data sharing. They were more interested in whether it would save money.
Tech excites people. Only one person refused - an older gentleman who thought it would be easier for him just to adjust the heating himself. He didn't see the benefits technology could bring.
People don't appear worried about sensors. The news that the technology could tell if the home was occupied didn't seem to concern anyone. The trade off that it could potentially save money was seen as more important.
The use of pre-pay meters was everywhere. All the customers we spoke to were on pay as you go meters which highlights why the affordable warmth work at Bromford is so important. Not only is the unit price for energy more expensive for prepayment - but the cheapest tariffs are not usually available to those customers.
We'll keep you informed as the test develops!