How Ecobee's Donate your Data program helps smart-home scientists
This a massive asset that we have on the company.
All the insights about how people live at home and it's really important to leverage that data and to use it, but in the best ways possible.
And so we started to the program, we asked them to op-in to the program We wanna support the researchers and scientists who are trying to improve how we use energy every single day.
Fatima [UNKNOWN] is the director of social impact and sustainability for smart thermalstat maker Ecobay.
She helps create company's donate your data program which let's customers vuluntarily give away the thermostat data to researchers.
She says that before this program existed, many researchers had to go knocking on doors to get homeowners to join their projects.
And understanding how we use that energy, when we use that energy, what our preferences are.
What the home is doing at different points of the day.
How that varies over geography, and over people and families and lifestyles, Enables the researchers and scientists who are trying to build better buildings, create new technologies, design better programs for people, that donate your data gives them the richness of that information so that we actually come out with solutions that we can scale.
First data set of its kind.
There's nothing else really like it.
There are 40,000 customers and it's growing every single day.
Who are in the program right now.
The data it spans over two years, and that's growing every single day.
Using this information researchers can gain new insights into how can construct homes more safely and efficiently.
A non profit used this data to show that Indiana could avoid building an expensive power plant by cutting it's wasted energy.
Another group is looking into helping the elderly live independently at home using EcoBee room sensors.
But with negative attention on how tech companies use people's data, [UNKNOWN] it was risky to create the new program.
In this day and age, when you say data sharing to people, it causes a bit of a reaction.
People worry about what data do people have on me?
How is it being used?
What are they gonna sell me if they have my data?
And so on.
And I think it's really important for people to ask those questions and for people to be aware about what data's being shared and how it's being used.
But one of the things I also want to encourage people to think about; and this is a new frame.
Data sharing can be extremely powerful for greater societal benefits.
And their data is entirely anonymized.
We don't share any personal information.
But what we do share is what your life is actually like.
So that as utilities and governments and new building codes and standards are being designed, they're being designed for real people.
In her role, [UNKNOWN] also helped create partnership with Toronto to bring seven 776 ecobee thermostats into four public housing complexes.
FIrst and foremost, it allows them to save money.
These are people who are among our most vulnerable.
Sometimes they're frail seniors, sometimes they're disabled people.
Other times they're just people who are struggling.
And so in our climate here, one of their biggest expenses in the winter months, besides their rent, would be their Heating bill.
And this allows them to have the opportunity to have one of the most sophisticated pieces of technology to help restrain their heating bills, and I think that's a great thing, that's the biggest benefit.
And for them, the tenants, I mean this question of affordability in big cities or anywhere else is probably the first and foremost thing that's on their mind each and every week.
There are sure to be more concerns about data sharing for users, but [UNKNOWN] sees big potential for her program.
This is how we're gonna start to build smarter homes, smarter communities, smarter cities, smarter grid.
We need that connectivity, we need that data to be able to flow.
So, finding ways to govern these programmes responsibly, to be transparent with the customer and most of all to show people at the end of the day benefit.
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