Innovations sometimes pop up unexpectedly — something the up-and-coming smart home operation at Nucleus learned right around the time of its founding.Today, the New York-based firm stands behind a clever central control hub for smart homes that’s been endorsed by the likes of Amazon and Lowe’s. And while the firm couldn’t be happier about its progress, Cofounder and CEO Jonathan Frankel had a much simpler goal in mind at the start.All he wanted was an intercom system to keep track of his three rather energetic young boys while at home, and his research revealed that even a relatively simple intercom system would cost multiple thousands of dollars and require drilling some fairly serious holes in his walls.
Once you’ve purchased a connected thermostat, this New York-based startup wants you to think you’re only halfway done with making your HVAC system more intelligent. Keen makes a connected vent that opens or closes when it detects people in the room, or when it senses that the room is too hot or cold. The idea is that a homeowner would pay $80 per vent (the initial kit with a vent and bridge to connect the vents to a Wi-Fi network costs $120) and eventually your home becomes so smart that it only heats or cools rooms based on occupancy and their temperature.
Rather than view microgrids as new competitors to traditional electricity distribution utilities, perhaps these local networks of distributed generators, smart electricity loads, and energy storage devices should be seen as a new business opportunity. That’s exactly what Central Hudson Gas and Electric Company is thinking, as the New York-based transmission and distribution utility explained in recent testimony before state regulators.
For one week in mid-April, New York-based customer service software provider, Conversocial, tracked the Twitter mentions and replies of 20 leading American utilities to measure how responsive they were to their customers via social media channels.
The utilities were scored on response rate and response time, with Commonwealth Edison and Alabama Power taking the top two spots on the list. The companies responded to 42 percent and 40 percent, respectively, of customer mentions the fastest. Alabama Power’s average response was 9 minutes and 25 seconds. The average response time was, on average, 5 hours and 39 minutes. Only four of the surveyed utilities averaged less than an hour to answer a customer.