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Students Disrupt Energy Industry: Winners of SAP Utility of Tomorrow Contest

/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/smallutilitiesoftomorrow_406334.jpgWater, gas, and electricity may be basic necessities, but using them sustainably to power a digitized world has never been more complex. SAP recently challenged students to submit their ideas for solving tomorrow’s energy and resource problems in its Utility of Tomorrow Innovation Contest. Administrators, professors and students from over 40 universities in Asia, Europe and North America responded with some pretty insightful innovations. The five winners shared their motivations for entering the contest and what changes they hope to help make.

Green Home – A Smart App for Electricity Authority: Raja Abdulla, a student at Dubai Women’s College in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), created the Green Home app to help the UAE reduce its carbon footprint, one of the highest in the world. “We were inspired to participate because this competition aligns with the sustainability initiatives of the UAE government and recent m-government initiatives,” she says. Using the app, consumers can track energy consumption and remotely control home appliances. They can also explore strategies for more efficient energy consumption by collaborating on social networking sites and with the country’s electricity agency.

Bet and Energy: The Bet and Energy app packages energy consumption schedules into bets that are offered to households via a centralized marketplace. Consumers can win a fixed discount on their energy bill if they adhere to a consumption schedule for a defined time period. They have to pay a fixed premium if they lose. Yong Ding, from the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology in Germany, says that, “Combining consumers with suppliers in a gamified concept will motivate energy conservation among users and support better distribution planning for utilities.”

My Water Usage Management App: Conserving water and saving money is the idea behind the My Water Usage Management app developed by Wayman Duong, a student at San Francisco State University. Consumers can set their water savings goals based on their budget, track their progress through alerts, and analyze usage in real-time, making immediate adjustments to control costs.

AppoConnect was created by Kaushik Basu from the Xavier Institute of Management in Bhubaneswar, India to provide benefits to consumers and appliance manufacturers. Consumers can monitor and control their energy consumption, from anywhere at any time, while manufacturers have the opportunity to offer new services for ongoing customer engagement.

ProxiMate –Smart WiFi Circuit Breaker System and App: According to Assistant Professor Tony Kerzmann, whose students at Robert Morris University, Pennsylvania developed the ProxiMate app, smart circuit breakers can help consumers easily reduce home energy consumption. “We wanted to make a product that would allow the average American to have significant energy reductions without the worry of constantly changing settings or checking data.” Synced with smart breakers in the circuit box, the app acts as a proximity sensor, using someone’s smartphone global positioning system to remotely shut off electricity based on predefined settings and the consumer’s location.

These winning entries epitomize the rapid pace of digital disruption that’s sweeping across the energy industry to impact consumers, companies, and government agencies. As these students demonstrate, the change is global and the opportunity is limitless for those with the imagination to create and focus to deliver.

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