In an effort to help customers “demystify technology,” Best Buy is the latest company trying to get consumers amped about saving energy in their homes. Earlier this month the electronics giant launched its two-pronged Home Energy Concept.
The Concept includes the opening of three pilot programs within stores in Texas, California and Illinois. Special demonstration areas provide a space for folks to learn about home energy savings. Best Buy ‘Blue Shirts’ talk to customers about everything from energy assessments, to product installation and energy rebates on products. In-store displays also feature some of the latest and greatest in home energy management products.
In addition, the company has also launched an online tool to help consumers grapple with what can sometimes be confusing energy saving issues and data.
“This new Home Energy pilot is really just an extension of what we’ve always done at Best Buy, which is to demystify technology for our customers,” Kris Bowring, Senior Director of Home Energy Management said in an interview with us. “With this particular experiment, we’re trying to help our customers understand smart energy technologies and how it fits into their everyday life.”
It will be an interesting experiment to keep an eye on. Both Microsoft and Google have recently abandoned their efforts in the home energy management space. This summer, Google pulled the plug on its PowerMeter Home energy service, saying the program didn’t meet corporate expectations. Days later Microsoft announced plans to phase out Hohm, its online home energy management system, as well.
When asked what Best Buy will do differently to succeed in the market, executives said it will rely heavily on industry experts and partners.
“In our retail locations we offer our Blue Shirt and Geek Squad experts who can carefully match our customers with the right technology solutions to meet their needs and support them as they strive to live more sustainable lives,” Bowring said. “In each of the pilot markets, we are also partnering with utilities and energy partners to provide more comprehensive smart energy solutions.”
In stores, Best Buy will feature a number of energy-saving devices. One is the ThinkEco Modlet. The outlet will cut down on power from televisions, computers and other appliances when they are not being used. Smart lighting options like LED bulbs will be featured in the retails center, as well as home energy management systems. The Nest thermostat will also be in-stock at stores, described as a self-programming device said to save up to $400 over the course of two years.