Global conditions seem to be conspiring to make us use up more energy these days. The COVID-19 pandemic forced many people to stay at home, consuming more electricity to while away the days. Unusual and extreme weather conditions are also forcing many to fire up their heating or air conditioning more often than usual. In addition to increasing power consumption and carbon footprint, these scenarios also result increased electricity bills. In light of that, Samsung’s new SmartThings Energy service wants to help customers reduce their expenses, and it starts by simply knowing how much energy you’re using in the first place.
An old kids’ show once said that knowing is half the battle, and the new Energy service of the SmartThings smart home platform follows that philosophy. At its most basic, SmartThings Energy will let users monitor how much energy is consumed by their appliances, either individually or as a group. These are presented in easy-to-understand charts and that provide better insight into their energy consumption, especially when compared to previous months or a household’s target figures.
Simply knowing how much you’re using up won’t automatically help you save money, of course. In addition to presenting data, SmartThings Energy will also offer tips on how to better cut down on power consumption. Some might be common sense advice, but others, like not overpacking a fridge for better air circulation, might not be as widely known to most consumers.
Lastly, SmartThings Energy will also alert homeowners when they’re already spending too much power. This can happen via a simple increase in appliance use or from accidents like leaving a device turned on when no one is using it. The presumption is that people will then make the necessary adjustments or, if possible, power down the appliance remotely.
While SmartThings Energy sounds like a good strategy for reducing power consumption and electricity bills, it suffers from one rather fatal flaw. It supports Samsung’s smart appliances and HVAC products, so its benefits will only be felt in a house filled with Samsung’s products. The company does plan on expanding support to certified partners, but it would be better if such energy monitoring is supported by all devices and appliances that SmartThings itself supports.