I must admit I was attracted to Sense first by the looks of the unit, then the nice graphics on the Company’s web page. I’m a firm believer that the presentation/looks of a product is the first and most important factor to bring people to you, then come the specs, price and other attributes. I then read some Amazon reviews, some discussions on openhab.org, researched other products, and finally decided to take a dive. My Sense has been running for a week now, and I like it very much (until the next gadget, that is).
There are few competing products out there, and one of them has not 2, but 16 CT Sensors (Current Transformers). Do a search in Amazon, it’s rather obvious. One can thus install a CT around almost each breaker in the electrical panel. This sounds very tempting, but when you think about it, such approach gives you the TOTAL energy consumption on each circuit. For example, if you have all your major appliances wired on the same kitchen circuit, then such approach won’t be able to distinguish whether it is the fridge or the microwave that’s a power hog. In contrast, the approach adopted by Sense is to use AI and identify the ‘signatures’ of all connected devices. Yes, I see many people ‘ranting’ about the number of sensors, but when I think of the technology behind Sense, I like the product even more. It might (and does) struggle to identify many power hungry devices but nonetheless it’s a rather elegant solution, very in-line with our modern times.
Ultimately the future could bring more sensors, but device signature detection based on AI & Machine Learning is the way to go. I hope/wish the recently formed Smart Homes Consortium would ‘require’ that most electrical devices we use, would someday measure and broadcast their own energy usage … These are definitely interesting times we live in.