Imagine a house that controls and optimises energy usage without you have to do anything. Imagine a house that takes into account your preferences, the weather forecast, and the energy price to monitor energy consumption. Imagine it controlling the curtains, the dishwasher, the heating-system, the washing machine, and all the house’s devices to achieve one unique objective: reducing energy consumption. Imagine also that the house is communicating with you through your smart phone, the TV or your tablet. Imagine that, with a simple application you can know how much consumes your house right now, 2 hours ago, 3 months ago or how much the house will consume tomorrow. Imagine also that in a “click” on your smart phone, you can control the curtains, the dishwasher, and all the devices when you are away, at work or in vacation. No, you are not dreaming. You are not in the new crazy futurist movie neither. You are in 2013 and that system is real. Well, almost….
That really smart “system” is called the FIEMSER: Friendly Intelligent Energy Management Systems in Residential Buildings. Wow, what a name! But it is the name of the innovation on which we (a team of 4 students from the Advanced Master in Energy Management, from Grenoble Business School), had been working on, for 6 months, in partnership with TENESOL/SUNPOWER.
To respond to our society’s key challenges: increase of Green House Gases emissions, increase of energy peak consumption and increase of energy prices, the European Union, under the Seventh Framework Programme, an innovative research EU program launched the FIEMSER project, in 2010, designed for residential buildings. A European consortium, made up of ACCIONA, UCD Clarity, TECNALIA, TENESOL, CSTB, THALES, PHILIPS, and Fraunhofer IBP responds to that call, by developing all aspect of the FIEMSER project.
After many years of research and development, FIEMSER is now in a test stage: two prototypes are currently being built in Bilbao (Spain) and Munchen (Germany). Therefore, it is now important to address the market issue and assess how FIEMSER would be able to fit in and position its technology on the market. And, on which market?
It was TENESOL’s tasks to develop the “Exploitation Plan” that aimed at answering those issues. To help TENESOL in that task, we had the chance to participate in the FIEMSER project.
What an opportunity: taking part in an European project! But, where to start? That was a big issue as the market for those systems is not mature yet. Many companies are trying to design systems such as FIEMSER but nobody have clear answers on where to position its solution, for who it is designed for? Etc. As a result, we quickly realised that working on an innovation such as the FIEMSER, was more difficult than expected… hopefully, to help us, supervisors were there as well as Paul MILLIER’s book: “The study of markets that don’t exist”. You are going to say: how is it possible to study something that doesn’t exist? And we will tell you: yes it is (with some imagination)!
We hence opened our mind and buried ourselves in the strange, fascinating, frustrating, and confusing world of innovation.
At the end, thanks to literature researches, meetings, phones calls, interviews, hours of debates, etc. we managed to give TENESOL insights and clear recommendations regarding the market, FIEMSER’s position, client’s expectations, exploitation routes, etc.
Finally, exhausted after months of researches and confrontation to another world: the world where everything is possible… we were happy to have contributed to the FIEMSER project and hope to see it one day in our house! Furthermore, innovation management have no secrets for us (almost not)!
The TENESOL PIMS’ team