February 10, 2014 by lucychlin
Energy – a necessity…
Energy… it’s part of daily life. Currently, North America is experiencing polar vortex conditions and if we didn’t have heat or hydro, Canadians and Americans will be freezing to death. At the same time, Australians are experiencing the brunt of summer heat wave with 47.7 degrees Celsius temperatures (118 degree Fahrenheit), if there is no air conditioning, everything will be unbearable.
How the energy mobile app started…
Back in September 2013, I started to work on a mobile app with a friend as a side venture. I met the friend at a hackathon that I had decided to enter as I want to move into a more digital, technology and innovation realm as my line of work. The hackathon was sponsored by MaRS Discover District, one of North America’s largest non-profit for innovation, science, technology and social entrepreneurs. Working very long days from Friday night and the competition finishing on Sunday at midday, we came up with a brand new product idea, completed the product roadmaps and built the mobile app and web site concept before pitching the idea to a panel of judges. With so much work and so little time, many people pulled over-nighters and slept at the venue! Our idea and pitch won the Grand Design Prize and from that we received 20 hours of professional mentoring assistance and advice from Pivot Design Group. The Energy Tipper mobile app groundwork was laid!
Our concept is simple. Current energy information is difficult to understand with complex graphs, statistics and full of industry jargon. This is what we call “message fatigue”. We want to present energy information in a simple, playful and visually appealing way that the mass consumer is able to easily understand and make it more relevant to their everyday lives. Our goal is to get everyone excited about energy and energy usage, not just the industry. Make it simple and useful, and people will be on board. Apple’s products are a great example of this.
Why do we need this?
The main purpose of the app is to change consumer behaviour in how energy consumption is perceived and utilized. By making it simple, the mass consumer can now understand it. With new Green Button API rolling out in the US and Canada, daily energy usage information is now available for every household. This app turns the complex graphs and statistics into playful tips, recommendations, activity challenges and reminders that is easily understood, visually appealing and engaging. In turn, behavioural change will occur as consumers will be reminded when peak rates are, when to do laundry or run the dishwasher from data that is pulled from their own energy usage and reading tips and recommendations that are personalised and relevant for their own household. This will save money in the long term and also enforce a more sustainable energy practice.
Please vote for Energy Tipper!
To make it happen, we are entered into the Energy Apps for Ontario Challenge. There are few main reasons why. We hope to:
- gain more exposure for our mobile app if we are selected as finalists,
- gain funding to finish the app to a go-to-market state, and
- find strategic partnerships with utility companies that may be interested to test this out with their customer base.
A little vote goes a long way, so please spare 3 minutes to vote before 5pm EST, 17 February 2014 and we hope that you too, will say goodbye to graphs and charts and prefer to make energy information more beautiful and easier to understand for Ontario’s residents. 🙂