Recurring Revenue and Long-term Viability

I just got my Sense installed and so far I like what I see. But having been the victim to several startups that went belly-up due to a lack of recurring revenue, I’m concerned about Sense’s business model. My house is littered with otherwise functional devices that were abandoned when the manufactured couldn’t keep providing the back-end service for free. So for what it’s worth, I would be happy to buy a subscription for Sense if it helps keeps the lights on ( so to speak ). For example, if Sense saves me $10 a month on my electrical bill ( which seems entirely possible ), paying $5 a month for their service seems very reasonable. Does anyone have thoughts on this?

Hi @jsewell , we appreciate you reaching out!
In short, Sense isn’t going anywhere. We have several investors, including strategic partners such as Schneider Electric and Landis + Gyr with a vested interest in our long-term success. Today we bundle the cost of hardware, software, and service for the life of the device in one up front price, as that’s how most of our customers prefer it. However it’s possible you’ll see us exploring other business models such as subscriptions down the road, especially as we roll out new configurations (such as running on Sense-ready meters and electric panels) or as we roll out new services.

For now, I wouldn’t worry about viability long-term. That’s what we’re here for :slightly_smiling_face: .

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I was in the same camp in the early days but now I think it would be hard to argue that Sense isn’t a wholly mature product. As @JustinAtSense points out, the partnerships are there. What he doesn’t say, and I believe, is that Sense is the market leader at this stage (as blessed by the partnerships!) and failure in the “electrical disaggregation” realm is more likely only at the hands of “free fusion power” making people totally complacent about energy. As they have said in fusion tech for the last 50 years, “fusion is 20 years away”.

Meanwhile, the data that Sense collects is not without significant value so I wouldn’t be overly concerned about the backend costs corrupting Sense’s bottom line. The data is re-aggregated (compressed over time) so may not be building in volume (and cost) as significantly as one might imagine.

Unlike other per-circuit electrical monitoring methods, Sense is inherently a “skinny” technology. Even if for now we want multiple Sense devices on a panel and smart plugs and so on, this is just a temporary fix until the disaggregation gets to the point where a single skinny hardware monitor (or even just upstream Sense tech!) can take care of everything.

I can see a Pro model for which you essentially pay for a higher resolution data archiving (and access to it) … and all the bells-and-whistles that would go along with such a tool.

An evolving model could also account for, say, low-income housing where occupants can’t afford to install a Sense but local authorities, be it municipal governments or private utilities, can finance the logic of monitoring and reducing consumption to ultimately save resources and reduce bills for renters/owners. “Carbon neutral by 2030” and other such goals are going to force the hand of many local authorities and make Sense technology even more crucial.

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You’ve got me thinking about Sense much differently now. The value for the consumer is obvious, but what I hadn’t considered before is the value to product manufacturers. I suspect there is tremendous value in, say, Whirlpool knowing exactly how efficiently their refrigerators are running across thousands of households.

I suppose a valid question is will product manufacturers be willing to buy aggregate consumption data from a company like Sense, or will it be more profitable for them to embed controllers and Wifi chipsets directly into their products, which would allow them to sidestep aggregation and collect much more valuable data ( privacy concerns be damned )?

One benefit: Sense could sell not only aggregate usage information about Whirlpool products to Whirlpool, but could also sell Whirlpool data about their competitor’s appliances.

So many possibilities. Ok. I’m officially no longer worried about recurring revenue. LoL

If you’re interested in our more conceptual projects, I definitely recommend you take a peek at Sense Labs. There are a few really cool tools we are sharing early versions of in Labs that might provide a peek at what’s in store for the future.

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Indeed, I think you hit the nail on the head.

My 'tis-the-season pondering has been in regard to HVAC units and fridges.

I dedicated a Sense to a new mini-split and so get great ground truth data. Nothing to stop a manufacturer doing the same. Sure, you’d like to know how much energy the entire appliance is using but what lies buried in the power data is so much richer. Failure detection? Sure! Manufacturers like Mitsubishi on the commercial side have sophisticated and expensive monitoring systems to detect pressure failures and so on but at the residential/consumer scale Sense strikes a nice balance of added complexity vs cost. Sense Labs really drives that home. And by the way, those features likely don’t add any significant data cost.

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I forgot to mention this earlier, but if you’re happy with Sense so far (and interested in helping us out), reviewing Sense on Amazon is one of the best ways to do so @jsewell!

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Here’s mine. :))

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