CEO Mike Phillips shares key highlights from 2020 and looks ahead to 2021.
It certainly has been a tough year in so many ways! At Sense, we’ve been mostly working from home since March and finding new ways to collaborate both internally and externally. We are all spending a lot of time on Zoom and Slack and have adapted to the new way of working.
The pandemic also changed some of the things we’ve been working on. Early in the year we were increasing our work around solar functionality (see Sense solar tracks what’s going and coming from the grid) and just beginning to look at things like HVAC performance and HVAC fault detection (major users of energy in homes and major expense when they fail) and next steps were to combine what we see in the data with in-person visits from energy auditors and HVAC technicians to lead to full product support in our app.
Well, the pandemic slowed down the entire solar industry and it became clear we were not going to be able to have in-person visits for the data validation. But we also realized that people were spending more time at home and it was becoming even more important to track energy use, and it would be really helpful if we could help people diagnose problems in their homes.
So we decided to launch Sense Labs to give us a way to get new functionality out to our community as soon as possible, and got the first Labs projects live in the summer. We are continuing to add new functionality there and many members of our community have been using even these early insights to track down problems in their homes–avoiding HVAC service visits by diagnosing and fixing start capacitors, alerting their utilities to floating neutral and other safety-related power problems, etc. We’ve been getting great feedback which is helping shape our next work on this, so keep it coming!
While the pandemic and political news have dominated many of our lives this year, we are also seeing very encouraging signs that there is increased seriousness about moving to a new low carbon energy future. States and utilities have already been stepping up their commitments for carbon reduction goals, and many proposals are in the works about the transitions to our clean energy infrastructure. We think Sense intelligence will play a key role in this going forward – on Earth Day, we talked about this in our vision of homes in the future.
The way we get to this long-term vision is to have the core intelligence we provide built into homes. We have two very important partnerships for this: we are working with Schneider Electric to build Sense technology into the core energy infrastructure of homes (see Schneider Energy Center) and are working with Landis+Gyr to build Sense into utility smart meters (specifically the Landis+Gyr Revelo Meter). With these partners, we are continuing to develop the core Sense product including upcoming functionality for time-of-use (TOU) rates and load control.
Of course most of our internal effort continues to go toward improving the core Sense experience around energy and home insights. In addition to our work on core device detection, we are also giving our customers a range of ways to track devices and energy use in their homes, including our recent release of direct measurement at the circuit level with Flex sensors (find out more on our blog).
We are looking forward to 2021! Not only does there finally seem to be hope to end the pandemic and allow life to return to normal, but we have a great set of product enhancements in the pipeline. Thank you all for your continued involvement and feedback–we have a great group of very engaged customers and would not be where we are without you!