Talking to the Automated Home
digitalSTROM Upgrades the Interface for the Internet of Things
“We have an overall view of how and when our customers use energy.
Our goal is to synthesize all of that data into relevant insights for our customers.”
– Martin Vesper, digitalSTROM CEO
“Smart electricity for more comfort and a whole new style of living.” That’s the promise of digitalSTROM. The company provides digital transformation on all home devices from lights to heaters to security systems, helping them all work together with hardware and software.
The idea is not simply to control the home with a smartphone, but to automate devices around the pattern of your life. When you wake up, for instance, your lights will be on and your coffee maker will be almost ready with your first cup. When you leave for the day, digitalSTROM ensures everything is safely turned off.
Plenty of Data – But What Does It Mean?
The digitalSTROM system means a safer, more comfortable, more energy-efficient life for its customers. It also generates a lot of data that its customers find useful. The company can track energy and water use, status information (on/off, working/not working, open/closed, home/away), and even data with short-term relevance (did someone just ring the doorbell?).
Presenting that data to customers presents another challenge. “Energy information is usually presented in charts or graphs,” says CEO Martin Vesper, “but that lacks real interpretation of what it really means.”
Turning Customer Data Into Relevant Insights
The company turned to the Wordsmith natural language generation platform to produce personalized, plain-language reports that make a customer’s data clear and informative. Customers get reports via an app or the web, in both written and audio formats. In other words, the app literally lets users “talk to their house,” asking questions about status and energy usage and receiving a spoken answer.
“Our text summaries are longer than our spoken ones, but both narratives are generated on the fly using Wordsmith,” says Vesper. “We have an overall view of how and when our customers use energy. Our goal is to synthesize all of that data into relevant insights for our customers.”
Vesper gives an example of a user asking their iPhone about yesterday’s home energy useage. digitalSTROM would analyze that question, gather the relevant data, and send the data into Wordsmith. Wordsmith would then produce a narrative that is read or shown to the customer.
“It Just Works”
Vesper reports that the company’s overall experience with the platform has been extremely positive.
“Using Wordsmith is very straightforward,” he says. “We are especially happy that we can build new variables within Wordsmith. That means that we can do calculations and insights on the marketing side without having to talk to developers and wait for them to make changes. From building templates to using the API, we’ve had no issues, no problems, no down times. It just works.”
While the company is focused on German-speaking markets for now, the company is expanding both inside Europe and into Asia. And it sees Wordsmith as part of its future as well.
“I can imagine personalized systems manuals,” says Vesper. “What if we could provide personalized guidance based on things the customer had tried in the past, the devices he has, what kind of smartphone he’s using, where lives, etc. We could get away from a static manual with thirty-five languages and move something that is personal in the moment where and when the customer needs it.”
A whole new style of living, indeed.
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