product concepts | location based systems | information visualization
home energy conservation technologies
While building his new home in Berkeley, California, Silicon Valley professional Rolf Behrsing was inspired to try out some new ideas to make his home more energy efficient. This led to a series of pending patents.
One day Rolf and I were swapping stories about home construction and he mentioned these projects. This started a months-long conversation between us regarding how these ideas could be brought to the market as consumer products. Thus UberEnergy was born.
ÜberEnergy is currently developing its first product in Berlin, Germany. The Germans are very keen on these kinds of efficiencies and have been eager to incubate this technology.
Two friends meeting in a coffee shop, reviewing patents and sketching ideas in a notebook. Three friends putting together a PowerPoint deck for trans-Atlantic Skype presentations. Four peers crafting a detailed business plan.
Rolf had four different projects going on in his new home, each one a first prototype in progress. Could there really be a market for this?
Is there a market?
We began by identifying who the customers might be, and under what circumstances would they be motivated to purchase. We could envision some products for home retrofit and others for home construction. Others could be better offered as services for both new and existing homes. We also saw potential for customers in commercial real-estate. There was also the potential for energy companies and utilities seeing a benefits to some of the technology.
Our initial pitch was for a suite of four products and services that could be taken as a package or provided individually. I included a fifth new product category, a smart thermostat that would coordinate the other technologies and provide a user interface to it.
Reactions from investors in Berlin and Silicon Valley were positive, and we were encouraged to focus our vision and come back with just one product.
refining the vision
Rolf spent several months thereafter shopping the ideas around, and got the most interest in our idea of computer-learned energy efficiency, applying machine learning to a 'truly' smart thermostat to predict occupancy and energy use.
I then produced some new informational graphics which would help communicate the ideas at hand.
ÜberEnergy received an initial round of funding and contractual support from two universities in Germany in early 2016. Rolf Behrsing now lives in Berlin, overseeing a team of engineers and putting together agreements with various companies and institutions.
I speak regularly with Rolf regarding product direction, market opportunities, and new ways to promote and exploit the product concepts. I have been providing mobile app design concepts and visualizations, and have modeled ID prototypes for thermostats (Fusion 360).
ÜberEnergy has filed incorporation documents, and in these I am listed as a co-founder and an equity stakeholder.