Smarter technologies towards Greener Homes : A Human-Centred Approach
Abstract: Advances in technology continuously reshape habits, behaviours and interactions at individual, organisational and societal levels. Information and Communication technology (ICT) is pervasive, and is the bearer of crucial information, analysis and responses to the recipient. It assists in processes such as understanding phenomena and taking appropriate action. It also provides communication means, platforms and tools to interact with one another. In the United Kingdom’s (UK) Energy industry, smart meters are currently being deployed by energy suppliers to their customers. These are presented as a revolutionary device that supports a more efficient energy use at home and/or in the workplace, and helps customers save on their energy bill and reduce carbon footprint. Using interpretivist phenomenological Human-centred qualitative research, The thesis work explores the impact of using smart meter devices, as perceived by UK customers, in helping to monitor, use and manage energy consumption at home. Also, the study looks into alternative technology and customers’ expectations in the context of energy efficiency. And finally, the principles of a design is presented to respond to customers demands and desires. Passive participant observation, Future workshop and inspiration cards session are the methods and techniques applied in this research to collect data. The findings constitute good grounds for individual consumers to be aware of the opportunities made available by alternative technology. At organisational level it is a basis for energy suppliers to change their behaviour towards a changing demand and adapt by switching their core business to supplying Information and analysis as well as energy efficiency management solutions. At societal level government bodies and regulating agencies can tackle sustainability and green energy issues by controlling the profit driven character of privatised energy companies and responding to real market demand as perceived by consumers. Emerging technologies present opportunities that have the capabilities of breaking the status quo of energy supply industry in the UK as well as the rest of world. The value of this research is to show customers’ perceived reality and expectations, as well as opportunities to change the way energy is supplied and consumed.
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