- The online tool that monitors your energy use in real time
- The perks of a data connected home
- What does big data mean for you?
Big data. It can predict crime before it happens, foresee the spread of a flu virus and calculate an athlete’s performance before a race. But what role can big data play in our day-to-day lives? From GPS-enabled, heart rate monitoring watches, to internet connected fridges, the more connected we are, the more data there is to handle. The great thing is – we can use it to our customer’s advantage.
“Personally, I hate the expression big data. It’s not a very useful one. An awful lot of industries have swallowed and stored mounds of data – the science is in inventing algorithms to do useful things with it,” says Jim Anning, Head of Data & Analytics at British Gas Connected Homes.
Gone are the days where people’s only option was to take meter readings manually from a box on the wall, only for you to have to wait up to three months for the detail to show up on your bill.
“Now, people can understand how they’re using energy in real time,” says Anning. So, what else can data do for us?
“Accurate billing, for a start. But what’s more interesting is how data can be used to show how we use energy. Our algorithms can look at patterns in people’s energy consumption and calculate what they spend on heating, hot water, cooking, lighting, appliances and entertainment.”
This data allows you to look up your history of energy use. You can even compare your energy use to other homes in your area.
If you don’t have a smart meter – don’t panic. You can still use the portal. Data is simply used from similar people that own smart meters, and fed into algorithms to make an estimate of your personal energy breakdown.
“We’re now trialling my energy live. This platform can take a reading from a smart meter every 10 seconds – that’s 3.2 million data points per customer per year. At that resolution, you can find out how much your washing machine or fridge is costing you. You can view your usage on a smartphone immediately, instead of waiting for it to update.”
“Ultimately, data can let people make their own choices when it comes to their energy use. It gets rid of the idea that your only interaction with an energy provider is six minutes a year – when a bill drops through the door. It puts people in the driving seat, helping them save time and money.”