New Energy Dashboard Forgets Microsoft, Google Lessons

People Power1.0 plus PowerCost Monitor brings ‘full family engagement’ to the already fun activity of watching real-time energy consumption.

Can you see it now? Colleagues disrupting an otherwise fine business dinner to check on the current state of their energy consumption at home?
Julie Jacobson · July 12, 2011

Following the demise of Microsoft Hohm and Google PowerMeter, a little company called Blue Line Innovations is trying to pick up where the giants left off.

Poor Blue Line.

Microsoft and Google spent a fair bit of money proving that most folks don’t care to watch bar charts of their daily and weekly energy usage, nor compare their consumption habits with neighbors (how embarrassing!).

Yet Blue Line appears to be doing exactly what Hohm and PowerMeter did, only more of it, via People Power1.0, an energy dashboard from People Power.

Blue Line’s PowerCost Monitor attaches to an electric meter to capture real-time energy usage for delivery to a WiFi-enabled home gateway. The company, which says it has sold 150,000 units since 2004, enjoyed a big boost when it announced compatibility with Microsoft and Google’s energy monitoring solutions.

People Power’s idea of gaming

Today, Blue Line announces compatibility with People Power1.0, a “very compelling alternative” to Hohm and PowerMeter.

The People Power smart phone app offers “real-time electricity data anywhere, anytime,” according to the press release. Take that, Microsoft and Google. But wait, there’s more—more “layers of engagement” including real-time pricing, budgeting, gaming and social interaction.

The gaming, apparently, has to do with competing against the neighbors to see who consumes the least amount of energy. And then there’s this, according to the PR: “Compete against friends – energy efficiency quizzes.”

It doesn’t take a press release to tell you that the Blue Line/People Power partnership takes “the opportunity for full family engagement to a whole new level.”

Watch the bar charts with your kids! It’s a sure antidote to childhood obesity.

“With People Power1.0 you can be enjoying real time electricity usage information and much more anytime, anywhere …”

Kind of like how we now enjoy anytime, anywhere access to our movie and music libraries.

Can you see it now? Millions of diners disrupting meals to check email, text messages, sports scores … and the current state of energy usage?

“Oops, gotta run. Emergency at home. I’m at 2500 kWh and my neighbor’s like half of that. Must turn off pool pump.”

Fortunately, People Power seems to have potential for actually taking energy data and using it to automate various appliances in the home. But they’re not there. As we have professed, home energy monitoring is not a compelling application; but home energy management is.

Press release, next page

  About the Author

Julie Jacobson, recipient of the 2014 CEA TechHome Leadership Award, is co-founder of EH Publishing, producer of CE Pro, Electronic House, Commercial Integrator, Security Sales and other leading technology publications. She currently spends most of her time writing for CE Pro in the areas of home automation, security, networked A/V and the business of home systems integration. Julie majored in Economics at the University of Michigan, spent a year abroad at Cambridge University, earned an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin, and has never taken a journalism class in her life. She's a washed-up Ultimate Frisbee player currently residing in Carlsbad, Calif. Email Julie at

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  Article Topics

Blogs · Hohm · PowerCost · PowerMeter · All Topics
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