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16 June 2015

The tech is smart but are the users?

Energy, Technology, Trust

The headlines are awash with talk of smart devices. Watches, thermostats, lighting – even underwear have all been given a facelift to make them more intelligent and connected. But is it all too much? And is it of any use?

Smart technology in all its forms is making bold claims and one of those promises is to make us use less electricity. This is the type of technology that at face value appears to be win-win. If we can save money and the environment at the same time, everyone benefits, right? Well, problems can arise if the interests of the users aren’t properly considered and if the manufacturers don’t get that bit right, our homes will be full of white elephants. Albeit, connected white elephants.

We’ll be discussing how human beings experience smart energy technology at an event hosted at Edelman. The Smart Lives Event will investigate the relationship between consumers, technology and energy use. Speakers will discuss the potential for smart technology to empower consumers to use less energy and ask if behavioural energy efficiency programmes could become redundant if we all switch our energy use onto ‘autopilot’.

As part of the event, the Energy Saving Trust and Goldsmiths, University of London will launch a report that gives in-depth insight into consumer attitudes towards smart technology for saving energy. Do they understand it or do we risk alienating an entire generation of potential users due to fears of losing control?

The findings of the Edelman Trust Barometer are worth considering. Trust in energy is low and technology, although a traditionally trusted sector, is moving at a pace that is considered too fast for consumers. The perception among informed customers is that innovation is driven by growth targets and greed. We’ll investigate how well technology vendors can marry the need for intelligent devices with user-friendly functionality. It’s vital that customers both understand smart devices and they are rolled out in such a way as to become truly integrated into our lives, rather than being ditched after a few months.

Smart Lives takes place at Edelman on Friday 19th June as part of London Technology Week. To register click here.

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