Based on product designer Mark Rolston’s recent Fast Co. article, it might be fair to say that the Internet of Things has been on a trajectory toward the absurd.
“Last weekend, I spent several hours updating the firmware for some light bulbs in my home …,” Rolston wrote.
TXU Energy gave great thought to the future of connected devices more than five years ago. Its conclusion: Consumers don’t have the time or inclination to manage additional devices. Instead, they want to control their environments with the devices they have.
To create the best customer experience, the company took a deliberate approach to creating a seamless platform that can give customers easily digestible consumption and spending data and personalized management resources. TXU Energy then put all of that into their pockets with a mobile web site, an iPhone app and an Android app. It was the first company to deliver those solutions in the competitive markets of Texas.
The early history of the Internet of Things has been a hodge-podge of isolated smart devices, including smart light bulbs, which require individual programming and maintenance. As a result, adoption of many smart solutions has been relatively limited.
Now, more and more integrated control solutions are coming to market, bolstering the conclusion TXU Energy reached years ago.
The story of the company’s integrated and seamless approach to how consumers manage their spending and control their environment isn’t focused, though, on TXU Energy. Instead, it illustrates the value of putting customers and their experiences first. By doing that, the company is successful and consumer adoption accelerates.
The TXU Energy mobile apps offer great examples. Both apps, as well as the company’s mobile website, provide free, anytime-access for customers to easily understand and manage their electricity consumption and spending. At the same time, they allow customers who use the company’s Brighten® iThermostat to control their temperature settings while they are away from their homes and businesses.
Today, there have been more than 275,000 downloads of the TXU Energy apps and TXU Energy customers are completing more than 75 percent of their transactions through electronic and self-service tools, including the mobile site and mobile apps.
The latest and greatest smart devices are great, but without deliberate integration, consumers are consumed by programming and maintenance. That doesn’t deliver outstanding customer experiences and it doesn’t bode well for the Internet of Things.