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Utility providers launch smart services in Alabama, Indiana and Michigan

Utility providers launch smart services in Alabama, Indiana and Michigan
Utility provider Alabama Power has teamed up with three homebuilders to push for the construction of smart homes in the state, with the objective of realizing energy efficiency and home automation.
The smart homes will feature Google Home smart speakers for voice control and Nest Learning thermostats to help save energy and temperature control. In addition, improved insulation, high-efficiency heat pump and water heater and Energy Star appliances will be installed.
Under its Smart Neighborhood program, Alabama Power wants to build clusters of smart homes: Holland Homes’ Northwoods subdivision will include 51 smart homes in Auburn; Harris Doyle Homes will develop a 55-home smart neighborhood in Auburn; and Curtis White Companies’ Cedar Rock Farms neighborhood will feature 21 smart homes in Leeds.
“These future-focused communities are designed to make customers’ lives more comfortable, convenient and connected, through features that can be managed by smart devices and voice activation,” Alabama Power says in a statement.
Alabama Power technical experts will supporting homebuilders on program standards and energy-efficient technologies. Construction on the three communities will start in 2019.
Vivint Smart Home has been selected to equip each home with voice-activated security, smart locks, lights, cameras and garage door control.
This is not the first time Alabama Power helped construct smart homes. Its flagship Reynolds Landing community in suburban Birmingham was named by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce as one of the most innovative energy projects in the country.

Indiana Michigan Power enables smart services with Google Home

Utility company Indiana Michigan Power will also launch smart energy services via Google Home. Its customers will get energy insights through any devices that support Google Assistant.
Utility usage and billing information are combined with thousands of data points on each home and their occupants to provide feedback about energy usage and notifications, said the company, which provides electric power to customers in northern and eastern Indiana and southwestern Michigan.
In initial rollouts, people will be able to ask Google Assistant questions like “What is my bill amount?” “How is my home using energy?” “How can I reduce my energy consumption?” and “What are some tips to save energy?”
“Enhancing the experience of our customers through new technologies and services to manage their energy use is important,” said Dave Lucas, Vice President of Finance and Customer Experience at Indiana Michigan Power. “As voice-enabled devices continue to proliferate within the smart home, our focus is on how we can enhance the value that these devices can provide customers in their daily lives.”
Parks Associates has reported that by 2020, American households will have more than 2.3 billion connected devices. One of the more prominent devices entering the household today are smart speakers. In fact, according to NPR and Edison Research, one in six Americans now has a smart speaker.
The race is now on to spur further customer engagement with smart speakers by offering helpful applications. “More accessible energy information and notifications are important in creating value for customers,” says Tendril, the smart energy solution provider that helped Indiana Michigan Power launch the new service.
Nest thermostats are already installed in homes served by Indiana Michigan Power to better manage residential loads.

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