Prosumer home occupantWhole-house energy controlSmart end-user centric energy systemEnergy efficient home

Human-Centricity is the Key of Smart Homes

The smart home is broken! The connected residential infrastructure is fragmented, where smart appliances and meters from different brands fail to communicate among each other on one hand, and fail to connect to the competing energy providers in the market on another.

Gfi Team
July 20, 2020

The smart home is broken! The connected residential infrastructure is fragmented, where smart appliances and meters from different brands fail to communicate among each other on one hand and fail to connect to the competing energy providers in the market on another. The home automation ecosystem is glued together by rudimentary interfaces that sequence only some of the energy related events via a mobile screen of appliance-controlling apps. There is no intuitive cross-product cross-provider solution with a truly customer-centric whole-home app experience.


In Athens, Nicholas has finally got his dream modern apartment, fitted with a smart power & gas meter. He has also requested security options, with windows, doors and motions sensors installed. To appropriately furnish it, he went on a shopping spree at the electronics store and had a smart washing machine, dish washer, AC, bulbs and a plug for his coffee machine delivered to his new apartment. While moving in, he browsed the local telecom providers and selected his preference. Once online, he downloaded an app where he browsed local power providers and selected the offerings that suit him best. His appliances automatically appeared on the app where he could view, control and set schedules for each. He is environmentally aware and interested in managing his consumption to keep his carbon emissions in check, so he set his home automation option to ‘Green’. He is very excited and curious to what his smart home can do!


It’s summer time in Greece and it has been getting really hot! Nicholas leaves one of his windows slightly open before he goes to work in the morning to try to keep his apartment cool for when he gets back in the evening. He forget to turn off his bedroom light! During the day however, temperatures rise even higher and so does his apartment. The home automation system has learned from Nicholas behaviour, due to the motion and door sensors, that he left, so it turned off the light, and that he gets home around 6pm on midweek days, so a few minutes before that, the system shuts the windows and turns on the AC to cool down the indoor temperature. Nicholas was pleasantly surprised to arrive to a cool home and having not wasted power. He was planning to do laundry that evening, but he received a notification from his provider with a message offering him to control turning on his washing machine and postpone it to next day in the day while he’s at work, that’s because many homes in his neighbourhood have turned on their AC that hot evening which puts pressure on the grid. Nicholas accepts the recommendation.


His power provider was delighted that Nicholas has responded to his request. The provider then managed to supply power to Nicholas’ neighbourhood without having to greatly pressure the capacity of the grid and having to burn more fuel to produce power, which saved his company on investment and maintenance costs, and no extra emissions were produced. In exchange, the provider will lower the cost of consumption for Nicholas during the day the next day when the system will wash his cloths while most of his neighbourhood is at work. A few days later, Nicholas receives his power and gas bill in the same app! Reviewing it, he was delighted that he managed to save a considerable amount of money for positively responding to his provider’s messages and has unlocked the ‘The Tree Hugger Badge’ on the app to share with his community.


Marta, an ambitious entrepreneur, also lives in Nicholas’ neighbourhood. She noticed that the solar panels in her house are charging her batteries during the day but she’s only using part of the stored energy when she gets back home. Meanwhile, her neighbour works from home all day and typically goes out in the evening. Her business mind quickly formulated a win-win scenario, where she requests the system to charge only as much as she typically uses and when it’s needed, while for the rest of the day, offer her batteries’ power to her neighbour at a lower cost. She does this by setting her preferences on the app for ‘Least Cost’. When billed, she was delighted to receive an incredibly low bill, while making little to no impact on both her provider and the environment. On the app, she unlocks the ‘Renewable Energy Entrepreneur Badge’.


Does this sound like a utopian sci-fi? Well, this is becoming a reality through the EC project, InterConnect, where gaps between user, appliance manufacturer and service providers are bridged to form an interoperable ecosystem provided with energy flexibility services. In the project, the Group Gfi is providing solutions to centralize whole-home flexibilities and find their optimal application for both the end-user and the energy system. These solutions will be tested in InterConnect pilot located in Greece – others are in France, Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, Portugal and Italy – and is planned to mature across the EU. The goal is to democratize the energy market where end-users would be able to choose and change their technology providers, without having to replace their installation, every time they feel this need and still be able to adopt sustainable behaviour and benefit from technological advances. The ultimate objective is to support energy transition to achieve its energy efficiency objective and promote sector economic growth. Discover more about InterConnect and how you can participate here:


The Gfi Group is a leading software services and solutions provider internationally. Learn more about Gfi here:


  Nour Sobh     /     Maria Perez

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