Demonstrate that a well-designed application can help the general public better manage their electricity consumption.
2016 - 2 months
Cited in several books on good design practices.
We created a simple, practical and fun application to help the general public better understand and control energy consumption at home. Companion aims to demonstrate how better interfaces can change the public’s ideas about data.
Saving energy is one of the key challenges facing smart cities, with the solutions like smart grids and connected meters now center stage. However, citizens are struggling to take advantage of the economic and environmental benefits that these technologies offer. Stumbling blocks include fears of disruption, misconceptions about devices being too complicated, and problems convincing individuals that they are the “right” person to regulate the electricity supply at home. This feedback suggests that interfaces on these new technologies need to be improved.
The app provides concrete incentives via personalized advice.
Companion is designed to connect to data from smart meters, such as Linky, which is used in France. This data, however, is not currently open enough to facilitate a connection in this way. Companion is a forward-looking project that’s working to make the use of electricity data more focused on citizens.
The app helps to contextualize the data by comparing it to older data, or to other similar dwellings.
We sought to address three challenges.
Firstly, education: helping citizens to understand how they can improve their own energy consumption.
Secondly, attractiveness: citizens need to want to interact with these new technologies and discover new uses.
Finally, trust: empowering citizens to embrace—with peace of mind—new ways of using domestic data.
We also use gaming principles with a system of badges, and allow users to compare data from different areas of the town or city.
The Companion app shows the user their household consumption, provides a daily or monthly summary, and allows the data to be filtered by electrical device. It allows the user to, for example, realize that the washing machine and the oven are always active at the same time, or to predict what savings would result from delaying the start time of the dishwasher.
We were inspired by ‘green nudges’, an approach drawn from behavioral economics aimed at incentivizing socially responsible behavior without resorting to coercion.