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Energy Management in the Smart Home: Emerging Niches and Ecosystems
During the past decade, there has been an increasing interest to integrate the Internet of Things (IoT) into smart home and smart grid concepts. The concept of IoT, enabled by advanced information and communication technology, has a significant potential to influence the energy use behavior in residential and office buildings by allowing for increased monitoring and control of energy consumption. This study investigates smart energy management systems at the intersection of two emerging fields; the smart home and the smart grid, and provides insights into the emerging actor networks and innovation processes in these IoT application areas in Sweden. Applying a socio-technical approach, smart home energy management can be broadly be divided into two rather separate areas at the intersection of the smart home and smart grid niches: 1) a global market niche with a focus on smart technologies and appliances for increased energy efficiency and management, and 2) a local level niche emerging in a protected area of research and innovation projects that connect smart homes to smart grids. The study suggests that learning is still being undertaken in terms of combinations of technologies and systems, user needs and practices, and potential markets. However, determining successful value creation, delivery and capture strategies and scaling-up of complex emerging socio-technical systems are the greatest challenges facing niche emergence.