With the government having seemingly hung certain elements of the industry out to dry in recent times, one question is being asked more and more frequently: how can we improve the nation’s energy efficiency?
It feels as though the pace of technological change has quickened dramatically over the past decade or so, which means the answer could well be that we simply don’t know yet. The next major breakthrough may be just around the corner, or in the case of something like LiFi (which, in basic terms, is a wireless communication network through your light bulbs) hanging above our heads. The difficulty with this rapid evolution, though, is that significant percentage of people is at risk of being left behind.
An aging population and lightning progress aren’t easy bedfellows. For every early adopter of a certain age there are many, many more who have only just got their head around the fact that Skype isn’t a movie starring their grandkids. The technology itself isn’t necessarily the problem, it’s the fear of getting something wrong and deleting the entire internet that holds people back.
The emergence of smart controls has thrown our sector into the heart of the debate. Connectivity is key. Fortunately, most people are at least able to comprehend the concept of an app that can operate a heating system. Once again, though, the fear may be tough to overcome. What if I accidentally override everything and leave the heating on while I’m on my summer holiday for a fortnight? What if I turn it off on Christmas Day and can’t turn it back on again. What if somebody hacks in through my phone and commandeers my webcam?
As is so often the case, the onus is on installers to explain the technology with clarity and a healthy dose of patience. On the plus side, by now there’s almost certainly an app for that.