One August afternoon, a few MEEAites embarked on a recon mission to gather data on smart devices in two major retailers of home appliances. Sadly, the budget didn’t approve our (Midwest Energy Efficiency Alliance) request for black turtlenecks and spy gear, so we had to make do with business casual.
Our goal was to get a general idea of what type of technology comes with today’s appliances that are commonly available to the public. As MEEA sets out to not only understand, but also influence on the world of intelligent efficiency, we have recently found ourselves arriving at the same question that starts at the consumer: What do customers experience today when buying new home appliances?
Not content to be armchair EE professionals, we walked into the first store, and my co-worker immediately blew our cover by telling a salesperson that we were looking for connected devices. We quickly learned, though, that “connected” isn’t a request that salesmen are hoping for, and a store associate quickly figured out that we didn’t need help and walked swiftly in the opposite direction. See ya. Left on our own, we embraced the opportunity and completely surveyed the appliance section and photographed any sign of an appliance being smart, connected, energy efficient, advanced…you get the picture.
After visiting two stores, we learned a few lessons to share.