This question has been floating around for a while now and with the grant release recently it seems like a good time to address this issue.
Couple of interesting facts about smart phones and the market forecast for adoption:
1. GSM and Smart Phones combined made up 63% of the world market in 2006
2. The iPhone & Blackjack for consumers, and Blackberry for businesses have completely changed the way phones are viewed and utilized
3. Each new generation of phones enhances capability and security
The role of the In-Home Display is to provide the consumer with relevant actionable data about their energy consumption and account. Yet, how many of us keep our phone/PDA within easy reach, even at home? While the IHD would give a counter top presence in the home, is it likely to become just another item on the counter taking up space that is eventually disregarded completely?
The long term view has to be yes without a doubt. The global cell phone market devotes billions to marketing and sales, constantly touting the smart phone as a lifestyle device. Utilities may have a unique relationship with consumers, but why try to compete for consumer attention?
If you want to get the most out of those federal funds not allocated to smart meters, refocus grant dollars going towards IHD’s into, Smart Thermostats, Consumer Portals, and Web Applications targeted to smart consumer devices.