This year’s smart cities category in the CES 2019 Innovation Awards was won by ZOME Energy Network’s ZOMEKit, a multi-dwelling unit (MDU) conversion kit that transforms older apartment buildings into energy-efficient smart ones.
The ZOMEKit is a small box that is attached to existing buildings, and is described in its CES award profile as “convert[ing] apartment complexes into energy grid-aware, smart buildings providing energy savings and revenue generation. The ZOME gateway with integrated blockchain support, transforms thermostats and appliances into transactive energy devices.”
SEE: CES 2019 news, photos, videos, and more (TechRepublic on Flipboard)
Why the ZOMEKit matters
It’s estimated that homes account for around 21% of US energy usage every year, and while that may not seem like a lot it can get expensive, especially for apartment building owners who cover some electrical costs.
A purpose of ZOMEKit is to reduce those costs without the need for total energy overhauls in smart cities—you simply attach it to the power system in an apartment building to gather data on energy usage. ZOME’s ColorPower algorithms use the data generated by ZOMEKit to make automated optimization choices that will ideally reduce the costs associated with running an MDU, no matter its size.
The end result for MDU owners will be a more efficient power system, detailed metrics that can help in planning future renovation or construction projects, and reduced overhead.
SEE: IT leader’s guide to the rise of smart cities (Tech Pro Research)
Is ZOMEKit right for other buildings?
Despite winning a CES Innovation Award, information about the ZOMEKit is scarce, so it’s unknown how adaptable the unit is to other applications (We reached out to ZOME for more info and will update this article if they respond).
If you’re a business owner leasing a single space, or someone who lives in a single-unit home, the ZOMEKit might not be your best fit, though Curb may be just what you’re looking for. Anyone with access to their circuit breaker panel can install Curb, which gathers energy use data and presents it in an easy-to-digest mobile application. The app also warns users when they’re using more energy than normal, and can provide other notifications as well.
Unfortunately, ZOME isn’t exhibiting at CES 2019, which makes it difficult to judge how it will stack up against competitors like Curb. It may be designed for a different kind of space, but if ZOMEKit’s features are already duplicated in products like Curb, it’s difficult to judge its value without knowing more.
SEE: CES 2019: The big trends for business (ZDNet special feature)
The big takeaways for tech leaders:
- The ZOMEKit, a box that attaches to apartment buildings to turn them into smarter, more energy-efficient structures, has won the CES 2019 Innovation Award for smart city technology.
- ZOME won’t be exhibiting the ZOMEKit at CES 2019, and there isn’t much information available about the product. Without more information, it’s difficult to judge how beneficial it will be for building owners.