Side mirror of an accelerating car
Housekeeping, Sustainability, Work


Well, it’s been quite a while between posts here… so a bit of explanation is in order.

Shortly after I presented at the IxDA drinks last year, a number of my colleagues pointed me to the Energy XO program that was being launched by Western Australian electricity utility Horizon Power and (now defunct) startup accelerator Pollenizer.

It seemed like a great opportunity to connect with industry folks and participate in a two-day “microhack”—essentially a workshop to develop up business ideas in the electricity sector and to be introduced to the “startup science” process that Pollenizer had developed around Lean Startup principles.

Little did I know at the time that I would be one of four people selected to enter into the 12 week accelerator program! Continue reading

Vintage-style lights. Source:
Presentations, Sustainability, Work

IxDA Sydney—June 2016 presentation + notes

Last Thursday night I was privileged to present a short talk at the June IxDA Sydney meetup. (Thanks Joe!)

The slides from my talk are presented below:

Or you can download the slides, along with my speaker notes (PDF 2.8MB), which includes links to a lot of the inspirational projects I highlighted. Continue reading

Blurred city lights. Source:

How much impact might savings “within the walls” have?

In a recent post I commented:

If developers aren’t prioritising sustainability due to a perceived lack of market demand, and owners corporations’ focus is elsewhere, where else can efficiencies be gained? What about what happens “within the walls” of the apartments themselves?

While the individual savings might be small, the cumulative benefits might be significant. Just how significant is unclear, however. So it’s hard to judge just what sort of impact energy efficiency measures across a medium- or high-density residential complex would be. I did a bit of digging but couldn’t find readily available stats. Are savings in this context just going to be a “band-aid” solution? Or can it make a significant contribution?

Let’s assume, for a moment, that the cumulative effect is significant enough to warrant attention.

Ahh, assumptions. We have to make them sometimes to get moving, but it’s always best to close the loop, through research, if we can.

I spent a little bit of time the other day looking into this, seeing if I could source stats or research that examine the difference in energy consumption in a medium- and/or high-density residential environment (e.g. apartments) versus low-density (e.g. houses), and found some interesting tidbits… Continue reading

Electricity wall outlet. Source:
Presentations, Sustainability

IxDA Sydney presentation

Over the course of a few recent posts I’ve explored some of the challenges with reducing electricity consumption in a high-density residential environment.

On 2 June (Thursday next week) I’ll be diving into this problem space a little bit further at the IxDA Sydney meetup, and demonstrating some recent work and early directions that have been emerging from our consideration of this design challenge.

My talk is titled: Ambient interfaces: Influencing energy behaviours in urban environments Continue reading

Dots, camera, mirror. Image source:
Business 2.0, Sustainability

A (financially) sustainable internet of things (pt. 2)

I “grew up on the internet” during an era when open source and ideas like the Creative Commons were just the “way things were done”. There were often warnings from key influencers like Dan Gillmor, Dave Winer, Doc Searls and others about the threats impending on this ethos and our rights as citizens of the internet. I hold these values pretty dear to my heart.

So I’m finding it challenging to reconcile the conundrum relating to internet of things business models that revolve around the data collected.

While the IoT ideas I am experimenting with may never come to market (I did say “early experiments” in my last post, right?), I am thinking about business models etc. If, as I’ve argued previously, the return on investment rationale doesn’t stack up for energy monitoring devices in an apartment/small-space living context, one thought is that it would be advantageous to cross-subsidise the costs through other means. For example, to provide the device at close to cost (or less than cost, possibly even free) and generating revenue through “other means.” Those other means are likely to involve some way of leveraging the data you have collected. Continue reading