About a month ago Schneider Electric announced an upgrade to its Wiser home energy management platform. At the time, we asked if the old-school grid giant could compete with a bunch of slick startups in the connected home and residential energy efficiency space.
The answer is, it doesn’t have to. Instead, Schneider Electric announced a partnership with startup Alarm.com on Wednesday, one of the majory players in the market with a slew of offerings from garage doors to thermostats to security. Alarm.com also acquired home energy management startup EnergyHub last month to round out its efficiency offerings.
Schneider’s move is just further proof that energy efficiency by itself, especially through clunky in-home displays and other high-priced hardware, just doesn’t sell. The promise of convenience, comfort and maybe some savings, however, is a much stronger selling point.
Energy management has becomes part of a connected home package, being sold by everyone from big box stores to cable companies to security providers. Schneider has the expertise in hardware, but it needed a partner for a slick platform to run it on.
“We believe that by combining Alarm.com’s best in class platform technology with Schneider Electric’s proven energy management capabilities, we are delivering a comprehensive residential energy management solution for the market,” said Yann Kulp, vice president, Strategy & Business Development, EcoBusiness North America, Schneider Electric.
Alarm.com will add Schneider’s Wiser home management system to its toolbox as it courts homebuilders, utilities and other service providers. Alarm.com already works with Vivint, another home security company and with San Diego Gas & Electric. Schneider has long standing relationships with many utilities, but its also working with KB Homes to integrate its Wiser platform and Alarm.com would like to have a foot in the door with new home construction.
To be more appealing to utilities, Schneider has partnered with Calico Energy Services for its Wiser offering, so that it can sell an entire demand response solution to utilities that might not have a demand response management system on the backend. While most connected home services focus on the thermostat and lighting,
Schneider’s platform can also control other energy hogs like pool pumps and hot water heaters. When and if electric cars take off, Schneider already has a charging station that could also sit on Alarm.com’s platform.
“We want more and more pieces of the home,” said Peter Rice, director of program management at Alarm.com. He noted that people don’t want one app to turn down their thermostat and another to arm the alarm system. Instead, someone should be able to close his or her garage door, which arms the alarm system and turns down the thermostat (Alarm.com also partners with Liftmaster). “We believe the value is when it’s a single app and single platform,” said Rice.
Integrating the two platforms doesn’t necessarily mean anything. Partnerships abound in the market although new business that is actually signed because of the partnerships is harder to come by.
Alarm.com raised $136 million last summer to push further into connected homes and also to expand abroad. The Vienna, VA-based company says it already has hundreds of thousands of customers choosing services beyond just home security.