Mike CEO

2018 Year End Update from Mike

2018 was a big year for Sense and 2019 looks to be even bigger. CEO Mike Phillips shares all the details.

Hi Everyone,

It’s been an exciting year at Sense! Thanks to the support of our customers and partners and of course the team at Sense, we’ve made tons of progress on our core technology, our products, and have some great new partnerships.

We know that the number one request from our customers is to find more devices, and to do it more quickly and more accurately so this remains the number one focus for our technical teams. At the beginning of 2018 we were just starting to transition to an increasing flood of data with both the challenges (scaling our infrastructure) and the opportunity (shift to machine learning techniques which are able to make use of large amounts of data). This has been paying off — we’ve increased the number of devices found in an average house by around 50%, and also were able to introduce the “Community Names” functionality. This was directly based on the device labeling efforts from our customers. Our users have tracked down and labeled over 150,000 devices!

In addition to Community Names, we had 11 major product releases last year including things like a more complete web application, goal and budget features, monthly emails, and integrations with other smart devices, like Philips Hue, smart plugs, and Google Assistant. These integrations are the most exciting for us — not only do they allow us to start to close the loop by adding control to our broad-based sensing, but they form a key input for our continued technology development. While the user labels mentioned above have been very helpful, even better is the strong “ground truth” that we get when you link Sense with a connected light or connected plug. The lack of ground truth has been one of the biggest machine learning challenges we have faced for identifying devices. Yes, we know our users want to be able to “train” Sense, but the issue has been that we need to see devices working in their normal ways, and need to see how their signatures interact with and compete with other things in the home (so, artificial examples from our users just don’t help in the way you might think).  Smart plugs and other integrations are giving us great new data and our Data Science team is super excited about what they are going to be able to do with this — we think you will see some nice progress from us in 2019!

In addition to the product and technology progress, we’ve signed some great new partnerships in 2018. The biggest of these is a new partnership with Schneider Electric, who led our series B funding round and announced a new product based on our work together. While we can’t say a lot about future work together, I’ve spent a lot of time with the team at Schneider and am very confident we are going to be able to do some great things together.

Based on this work in 2018, I’m very much looking forward to 2019! We just completed a set of focus group studies to learn where an increasingly broad set of consumers will find value in Sense. While the broad set of capabilities we can provide does resonate with people, it is clear that the most important value we can provide is helping people save energy in their homes. This is not a change for us, but does mean that we’ll continue to focus product and technology progress on features which can help people better understand and manage their energy use (including more devices and integrations!). And, we have some new ideas about how we can get even more help from our community of users to help with this.

Thank you for your continued support, feedback, and help! We could not be making the progress we have made up until now without you, and your help is becoming even more important as we expand to a broader set of consumers. We’ll be in touch with more updates in 2019!


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