Is Google about to gesture its way into home energy management?



There has been a lot of activity in the gesture recognition technology M&A space. From Google buying Flutter this week, to Intel gobbling up Omek over the summer, one things for sure, this space is getting a lot of attention. This has me thinking the gaming world, a la Microsoft’s Kinect-style gesture features, and the motion sensor universe, could collide to play a vital role in how residential lighting and ventilation are utilized. Could that be some of the logic behind the Flutter acquisition?

Google has already invested over $1bln in alternative energy so it may not be unreasonable to think the company could be trying to enter the home energy management world after seeing the recent success of Nest’s Learning Thermostat. Considering Nest, which originated from Tony Fadell (creator of the Apple iPod and iPhone) is now moving into fire detection, the potential for software in the home is certainly being validated. did create PowerMeter, a free energy monitoring tool to help people access their personal energy data. The company actually shut down this offering two years ago but the company said they “look forward to what will develop next in this space”. My hypothesis is that Google still sees opportunity to help people save energy and gesture technology could be a disruptive way to accomplish that goal. Considering Google is supporting kite power, driverless vehicles, wind power, solar power and more, the company could perhaps look at gesture technology as the game-changing innovation that allows them to once again get back into the home energy management market in a big way.

I’ve been advocating that the future of energy will be led by Big Tech, not Big Oil. Apple hasn’t yet entered the gesture market but TechCrunch recently said rumors are swirling that it may. So while Intel has had a big heads-start in the energy management business, we may be seeing signs that soon read “Google Inside”.

Anyway, the gesture move by Google could in fact be aimed solely at Glass and further penetrating a virtual computing experience seen already through Androids facial recognition and gesture search, but I wanted to share my thoughts on the move, especially since there is a growing belief the U.S. home energy management market could be a multibillion dollar business within four years.


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John’s professional experience combined with his deep passion for cleaner sources of energy and transportation and reduced dependence on foreign sources of oil, make him a strong candidate to analyze the corporate vehicles fleet sector and develop key data on existing fleet petroleum use and emissions output.
Will Kennedy: Senior Programme Officer, United Nations Fund for International Partnerships