Toshiba continues to make acquisitions in the smart grid space, having bought Landis+Gyr, which in turn purchased meter data management vendor Ecologic Analytics over a year ago. Well, it’s done it again, this time picking up Consert, a startup that was trialing home energy management technology that would network the pool pump, HVAC and water heater in a set up that could do two way communication with a utility.
I still believe this is a difficult space to be in because all home energy management providers either have to sell to utilities, which is a long road, or find channel partners like broadband provider Comcast to sell their service as part of a larger home automation setup. Not to mention they’re now competing against companies like Nest which are grabbing consumers’s attention with sleek design and a narrow but focused solution geared at the HVAC unit, which accounts for 50 percent of electricity use.
But clearly Toshiba wants a full suite of options to market to utilities worldwide, which could now include the meter, the software to manage that volume of meter data and a home energy management system that could help manage and shift load on the grid and meet energy efficiency metrics. Utilities tend to like dealing with one vendor and if Toshiba can offer all these options in one package, they’ll be competitive.