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Check back here often for the latest news on our new product releases, awards, recognitions, and other exciting achievements.

Home Automation Podcast Episode #57: An Industry Q&A With Jessica Weiss

Changing the world through Energy Automation

This week's home automation podcast features our host Ron Callis interviewing Jessica Weiss. Recorded live on Wednesday, October 31st, 2018 at 12:30 p.m. EST.

About Jessica Weiss

Born and raised in Pennsylvania, Jessica Weiss graduated summa cum laude from Temple University with a degree in Public Relations. Upon graduation, she first entered the hospitality industry as a Group Sales Manager for a major hotel in Center City Philadelphia - The Crowne Plaza Hotel (which eventually became Sonesta Hotel). There, she managed rate negotiation across multiple market segments to drive millions of dollars in revenue for the Hotel.

After several years in hospitality, Jessica decided to use and expand her skills in a new industry - home automation & lighting control - when she joined Lutron Electronics in 2013. At Lutron, she spent over 4 years on both the Shades and Residential Systems Marketing Teams to successfully promote and expand Lutron Shading Solutions, Caséta Wireless, RadioRA 2, and HomeWorks QS across Lutron’s various channels. During this time, she also developed, launched, and managed a highly successful Contractor Rewards Program - Lutron PRO.

In December 2017, Jessica decided to bring her passion for lighting control and home automation to an entirely new industry - renewable energy - upon joining the Sonnen Team. With her background at Lutron, Jessica brought a new perspective of “clean tech” to the renewable energy industry where she would serve several different roles at Sonnen - including a Sales & Marketing Leader for the Northeast, Program Manager to develop and launch several Preferred Partner programs, and (most currently) Business Development Manager for Energy Automation and AI.

In her current role, Jessica is using her passion and expertise in both home automation and renewable energy to educate and inspire others about energy automation with ecoLinx - a concept now possible for the very first time. Today, she focuses on merging both the solar and home automation industries to help industry partners elevate and differentiate their business with this groundbreaking, unique innovation that takes the ultimate smart home to the next level. In her spare time, Jessica loves to run, bike, and spend time with her family.

Interview Recap

Here are some of the topics Ron had the opportunity to discuss with Jessica:

  • Jessica’s background in the industry
  • Who is Sonnen?
  • Importance of energy automation - value to homeowners
  • Relationship between the integrator and solar contractor

SEE ALSO: Home Automation Podcast Episode #56: A Custom Integration Industry Q&A With George Walter


Ron:  Episode of Automation Unplugged. How are you guys? It is Wednesday, October 30. First it is 12:31 PM. If you are watching this live, well thank you. And if you're watching this on replay, which is more likely thank you again. So make sure to like this and comment and if you feel so inclined, please share this out with your friends, your family, your neighbors, strangers, just share, man, got to give back. So I am super excited. Today's Halloween and it's a lot of action happening here around One Firefly land and I'm super excited cause I've actually been home for a couple of weeks without any travel which is always very nice. Got a little travel coming up here in November. And then in December we've got our big One Firefly team event, but otherwise life is good here at One Firefly and at Automation Unplugged. This is show number 57. So let's go ahead and bring in our guest. Let's see if I can make this happen. There she is. Hello Jessica. How are you?

Jessica: I'm well. How are you doing today?

Ron:  Awesome. Now you are coming to us from a hotel somewhere cause you are always out and about. Where are you? What city and state are you in right now?

Jessica: Yeah, I am in the beautiful Los Angeles, California right now at one of our headquarters locations here in Los Angeles in LA.

Ron:  Got it. Now where, where is home for you? Where do you live?

Jessica: Pennsylvania. So I live in a little town called Quakertown right outside Philadelphia about an hour from there.

Ron:  That doesn't have to do with your roots at Lutron. Does it, does that, are you from that area or did you move to that area because of Lutron?

Jessica: I did not move there because of Lutron. I was actually there before I even knew about Lutron born and raised in that area and it just so happened that Lutron ended up being literally in my backyard. So it worked out very well.

Ron:  Awesome. You know what, I'm just, Oh no. You know what? It's interesting. I'm using this new software, Jessica, and on my view, my previous screen, I see that your name was cut off and I was about to apologize for that, but I'm looking at what the world is seeing and I think your whole name is properly listed there. Jessica, what is it? Kramme?

Jessica: Oh, that's my maiden name. Yes.

Ron:  Kramme Weiss. Okay, cool. Jessica, let me just jump over to our One Firefly page on Facebook. Let me make sure we're actually streaming and that we're not talking to ourselves. And then we'll jump into things here. So just give me one moment. All right. I think we are streaming live. Yeah, there we are. Cool. So just stick by the way, if you're out there please like and share, it's greatly appreciated and that helps more people ultimately see this content and hear this content. I also if you're out there, here's a little tease. We have 57, this is show number 57. And we have thus 56 previously recorded shows. And I know many of you, many of our audience, Jessica, are driving between job sites or they're busy in their workday and they're not able to necessarily watch live or even watch videos. So just a little note for everyone. We're actually going to be moving or adding this show content into a podcast format which is pretty exciting. So stay tuned everyone for more details on that. But Jessica, let's tell the world where you are currently with Sonnen. Your title is energy automation and AI business development manager. Did I get that right? That is a mouthful. That is, sounds like a lot of responsibility.

Jessica: It is. It sure is.

Ron:  Awesome. So Jessica, before I want to talk about Sonnen and energy automation and batteries and getting charged up and all that exciting stuff. But I always like to start with our audience, getting to know you and where you came from and, and that would ultimately lead to where, where you're currently at with Sonnen and what you're doing. But do you mind sharing with the audience kind of your background?

Jessica: Absolutely not. So I started out my career. I have actually quite an interesting background. I started out in hospitality, believe it or not, in a center city hotel in downtown Philadelphia where I managed group sales. I was a group sales manager there and really responsible for corporate rate negotiation and helping groups that would come into town, help them get really great rates and enjoy a really great stay while they were with us. So I did that for about four and a half years and then I decided to take a whole nother direction, try something totally new, totally different. I was more on the sales side before deciding I wanted to test and see where my creative and marketing abilities could take me. So from that half fatality position, I then moved into a marketing position at Lutron Electronics. Most of you are probably quite familiar with Lutron. So for about and a half years there, I spent mainly on the marketing teams. I started out on the shades marketing team. So working on marketing for our sort of our Sivoia, QS wireless. Of course our Sivoia QS, triathlon shades lines. And then I moved into the residential systems marketing team. So from there I really helped manage channel marketing for all of our high end residential systems products to include Homeworks, QS, Radio, Ratu as well as Caseta Wireless. So been in a slew of different industries and learned a lot along the way and very excited then to go to take my home automation background and background in lighting control and now step into an entirely new industry. So after again, about four and a half years at Lutron, I just decided to take another step and to try something entirely new, which ironically ended up being quite similar. There's a lot of synergy between these two industries, which we'll talk about. So then I started here in Lutron Oh, goodness. Started here at Sonnen in December, 2017 so almost a year.

Ron:  So I, before we go into the Sonnen stuff, I want to dive a little bit more into the Lutron side of things. So what is it that you actually studied in school? Like, what was your, what did you think your career path was?

Jessica: Great question. So I graduated from Temple University with a degree in Public Relations. So I knew I always wanted to be in communications in some capacity, but my path didn't quite lead me where I thought I would go, but that's okay.

Ron:  Public Relations. What did you think you were going to be doing when you were, you know, I know a lot of us when we're in college, we don't exactly know what is, what the real world's about and what, what those jobs would look like. But what did you think you were going to do?

Jessica: Believe it or not, I really loved the event planning event working across different organizations, different departments and organizations to bring big events together. So my end goal, believe it or not with a PR degree, was really take that and use it towards event management. When we were going to school, when I was in school at that time, event management wasn't its own thing or wasn't like a school of event management that you could go to. So that was sort of the avenue that you had to go.

Ron:  And Temple, that's where. I'm a little ignorant on my geography here. Temple's in Pennsylvania?

Jessica: In Philadelphia, correct. It's in Philadelphia.

Ron:  Yeah. Okay. So you were kind of staying close to home, but going to a great university.

Jessica: I did. I actually commuted, commuted from home, which is a great, was wonderful. Yeah.

Ron:  Make mom and dad happy, right.

Jessica: It depends.

Ron:  I will leave that one alone. Now at Lutron, what by the way, just to add Troy from my team, he's watching and he says everything looks and sounds good from Cleveland. He's watching from Cleveland, so thank you Troy.

Jessica: Thanks Troy for watching.

Ron:  Appreciate it. Yes, absolutely. Now at Lutron, I want to dig in a little bit. What exactly were your roles and responsibilities? You mentioned a lot of different products and I know that's where you met Blake and Blake is now the leader there of the Americas for Sonnen. And at least I'm assuming that's where you met Blake. Actually, you know what, I'm going to test out one of these cool features. Watch this. Hey, there's Matt Scott. He says, Oh, Jessica's amazing, great choice Ron, look at that. Thanks Matt.

Jessica: And you didn't pay him to say that either.

Ron:  Yeah. You know what, you're going to slip him 20 bucks later, right? Yeah. Oh, she is great. And I was very excited to have her on. Yeah, I'm freezing on occasion, aren't I? Yeah, there we go. I look all right now. So in terms of the product and the roles and responsibilities, Jessica, what were those things you were involved with there?

Jessica: Great question. So I was involved primarily in channel marketing. So basically as many of you may know, we go through, we went to market through many different channels through distribution. We went direct through our RIS channel. So my main responsibility was to make sure that we had the tools and resources to help support our trade partners in those channels. So anything from brochures, flyers, e-blast a lot of communications, you know, if you are familiar with Lutron, lot of them came from recognizing the name. More recently in the past year I was there, I was 100% focused on developing and launching the Lutron pro program. So that was our contractor rewards program. Specifically focused on, contractor distribution to give them rewards and benefits and basically thank them for being a supporter of Lutron. So yeah, go owls. I see that there. So yeah, that's, that's where my role left me at Lutron. I was, I was developing and had just launched actually the Lutron pro program.

Ron:  The Lutron pro program. What was the Lutron pro program?

Jessica: Lutron pro program. So again, that was a rewards program. Essentially the more Lutron you purchase, you earn points and you could cash those points in for products for promotional materials, you name it. Again, it was sort of an incentive program to really get our contractors excited, engaged with our various products. And again, they were purchasing anything from Caseta Wireless to Triathlon shades, Radio Rock to at that point, rock to select which had just launched. So it's really was a way to really encourage our contractors who specifically purchase through distribution. And incentivize them and really kept them engaged with Lutron. So that was, that was, that was my role when I left Lutron and I loved it. It was a great way to interact with contractors, get to know them and really listened to what was important to them and give them, not only did they get to sell an awesome product, which we all know Lutron is, but they got some really awesome benefits as part of that.

Ron:  Now, so many people watching and listening to us here live obviously know the name Lutron, they're one of the leaders in our industry by far. But many of them may not know the name Sonnen right now, although Sonnen was they had a tremendous presence this year at CEDIA. You know, there was an article from CE Pros said it was the most trafficked booth at the show or something.

Jessica: Yes. Busiest booth.

Ron:  Well, it felt that way. I went over and checked you guys out a few times and you guys were slammed. There's going to be a lot of people here watching and listening that don't know who or what Sonnen is. Do you mind kind of filling them in? Like how would you describe Sonnen?

Jessica: Absolutely. So Sonnen is the leader in residential intelligent energy storage and management solutions. So we were founded back in 2010 by two gentlemen named Christoff Ostermann and Torsten Siphonhopper who basically wanted to take the concept of bottling the sun, right, our biggest energy source here on the planet and using it to really help positively affect the grid and help the grid. So basically what we do in a very high nutshell is we take all of the excess energy that's generated during the day from your solar array or solar. Sometimes people refer to them as solar modules on the roof, right? We collect all that excess energy that is generated and we store it in our system, which you see here. So the product we're going to be talking today is called eco links. Actually. There it is right there on the screen. And basically we store all of that great energy so you can use it at any time of the day or the night without having to rely on the grid. So what does that mean? That means in the nighttime, when the sun goes down, of course we are not producing energy anymore, but now you can take all of that clean energy that you've generated from the day and let's say power your home in the nighttime once the sun goes down without having to rely on your utility company or the grid.

Ron:  Now at Sonnen, what, what is your responsibility? I mean, something had to, I'm just gonna jump, make it leap of faith here that something had to have excited you to go from a great company like Lutron to what I'm gonna call an exciting company like Sonnen, but what was it about that and what was it about your role that, you know, said, this is the right next step for me and my career?

Jessica: That's a wonderful question. So I've always had a passion for renewable energy. You know, I certainly had heard about Sonnen and, and in doing even more research about Sonnen any third, just doing incredible things. I mean, this company is literally changing the entire world, right? We have the best.

Ron:  That's a big statement, changing the world. How are they changing the world?

Jessica: Changing the world where we're reducing the carbon footprint or a huge asset to the utility grid, believe it or not. You know, especially over in Germany, I mean, we have tens of thousands and 35,000 systems plus worldwide, millions of people living with this. And think of that. Instead of having to rely on the grid for what we, what we call dirty power, now you have a great way to use that clean or renewable energy source. So I was very drawn to that to the fact that they're doing so much good in the world and you know, our mission is literally clean and reliable energy for everybody. And that's what our end goal is. And that was just a very personally, something that was very, very important to me. So when I was you know, of course I met Blake who was leading the entire United States subsidiary and he was telling me all about Sonnen and I'm like, wow, like this is really cool. I really want to get in on this and and use my skills in another way, in a new way. And at that point, having no idea that there would be so much synergy between the CEDIA space and the home automation space that I came from and now renewable energy. So it was definitely a personal choice. I have a very strong passion for it. And it's just an incredible, incredible product though.

Ron:  Now. Thank you Jessica. And I want to address our audience. If you're out there and you have a question for Jessica, either about her career so far, and or about Lutron or about Sonnen or about energy automation type those questions in there. We have a great opportunity to get a thought leader around this emerging concept of energy automation we have here at live. So let's make the most of it people. And let's ask her some questions. Again, if you, if you are watching this on replay please still type those questions into the comments cause both Jessica and I will be looking at those comments into the weeks and months into the future. And if there's a question there, we'll make sure to answer it. So don't be shy. We just had a gentleman through a nice comment here. He says Saad Awad says, good job explaining Sonnen eco links work. Do you know Saad?

Jessica: I do not Saad great to meet you. Thanks for the comment.

Ron:  Oh, that's pretty cool. Now help me understand. And I've got a graphic here on the screen. I scrolled down on your website. I think you can see this correct, Jessica.

Jessica: That's it.

Ron:  All right. So this is, there's this topic that has really been, I'm gonna say, and I, this may be inaccurate, so correct me if I'm wrong. That's really been in the ether here out there for maybe the last maybe three to six months. I didn't really hear this term so much prior to that. I certainly have heard it very loud and clear since September to the present. And it's the concept of energy automation.

Jessica: You got it.

Ron:  What is energy automation?

Jessica: Yeah, great question. So and you are right. So we actually officially launched this whole energy automation concept at CEDIA. So all of the CEDIA audience that you guys and gals were the first folks in the entire world to experience this. So what is it? Really it's, it's where clean tech and renewable energy meets home automation. It's now taking our intelligent energy storage and management sustained system and marrying it with the home automation space. And now it's really giving you a way to use clean and renewable energy to manage and fully maximize energy in the home and all of the components in the smart home that go along with it. So it's using that clean energy along with your lights, your thermostat, your chargers, and all of those other components that are in the home automation space that you guys are installing every day, bringing it together. So the eco link pictured there on the left, that black box in the picture there that has a special software layer that allows it to directly integrate with leading home automation systems. So today we integrate directly with platforms that really open up a wealth of benefits and applications to really help a homeowner manage energy in an efficient way. And really proactively help homeowners prepare for events like, for example, grid outages and power outages so that your homeowners never have to worry about power outage again. And they have a wealth of course, peace of mind that comes along with that. And that's just one of the many ways to use the system. So I call it a collision. I honestly, I call it a collision of industries. Really you're taking also two industries. You're taking a CEDIA industry, CEDIAs space. You know, everyone on this call you're taking come on animation and now you're bringing into it the renewable energy side. So we're marrying renewable energy now and really helping these two industries to bring this all together.

Ron:  Now in the, I'll say the CEDIA channel, the home automation space, there's a lot of, I shouldn't say a lot. There are some primary control systems. You know, there's a Crestron, Control4, Savant, Elan, RTI, URC I'm sure I'm missing some obvious ones. If I'm missing them, type them into the chat, let me know what I missed so I don't hurt anyone's feelings. But which of those technologies which generally sit in the captain's chair of home and integrator is generally putting some primary automation system in the home. And which of those systems can eco links or Sonnen eco links talk to today? And then what does the future look like? Cause it sounds like you're just getting started really.

Jessica: You're absolutely right. There. We are absolutely just getting started. So today we work directly with Crestron and Control4. So those are the two platforms. But we are certainly looking to expand our horizons. We know it certainly doesn't stop there. So we are certainly exploring those conversations certainly on the roadmap. So today it is Crestron and Control4.

"We're coming at energy automation from the direction of the integrator learning about battery storage and how to integrate it. But then there's also you're coming at it from the other direction, which is where your company has lived since day one, which is in the solar and power storage space."

Ron:  Okay. And I want to just for the sake of our audience here, I want to attempt to try to, and I want to understand what does it mean for an integrator, you know, a technology contractor, a home technology professional. We have all sorts of acronyms and names for the people that are in our industry. And cause there's really, we're coming at energy automation from the direction of the integrator learning about battery storage and how to integrate it. But then there's also you're coming at it from the other direction, which is where your company has lived since day one, which is in the solar and power storage space. And there's now those folks that are becoming Control4 dealers and/or partnering with integrators. Can you shed some light on kind of how this is, how you see and how Sonnen sees this happening?

"It's marrying these partnerships marrying the industry's, making these partnerships so that you have the solar contractors who can lean on the integrators for the home automation side and design and programming."

Jessica: Absolutely. So again, it's a collision, a very great collision, a positive collision. So what we're doing on our end is our goal is to help introduce and make these channel partnerships. So how does this work? You know, from an integrator standpoint you know, you are going to need the solar industry. You know, if you have a homeowner who wants to do energy automation and incorporate solar into the solution you obviously most of you probably don't want to be on the roof installing solar panels, right? So we are going to help make those connections with the right partners on the renewable energy space, on the solar contractor side of things to help you with that side of the business. And then naturally there is an immense opportunity for you as an integrator. On the flip side of that, so believe it or not, the energy industry is much larger even than the CEDIA space is today. So we have all of these solar contractors. I can tell you we went to CEDIA, you know, of course, back in September, two weeks later, we were at the CEDIA of the solar world called SPI and where we launched this to solar contractors. And folks, let me tell you, there was an immense amount of excitement of interest. This energy automation concept. It's something that the solar contractors have been wanting for years. But here's the caveat. They don't want anything to do with home automation. They don't want anything to do with home networks. They don't want certainly anything to do with programming. They don't understand it and they don't want to understand it in most cases. So what we are doing is all these solar contractors who are out there trying to, not trying, they're selling and pitching this concept, they're going to need you as the integrator to make it all happen on the home automation side. So again, it's marrying these partnerships marrying the industry's, making these partnerships so that you have the solar contractors who can lean on the integrators for the home automation side and design and programming. And then of course on the flip side of that, you have partnerships with solar contractors who can help design and install the solar system that would go on your roof. So it's a beautiful, beautiful marriage. And honestly, you know, back to your original question, what is energy automation? It's an opportunity, it's a huge, immense opportunity.

Ron:  So coming from the Lutron universe, and I'm going to say the all the different channels of distribution for Lutron and then going this SPI show and you were there because I was there as well. I went for a couple of days. What was your impression? What did you think when you kind of saw that and you saw that energy around solar and energy storage and you could probably have a conversation about climate change with people in that room and they wouldn't throw a rock at you know, how, what was your impression of that?

Jessica: It was incredible. I mean, I've never heard of them. We don't know the solar folks. The SPI world has no idea about the home automation space, so it was really neat to step in there and you're like, Oh my goodness, there is this entire other huge industry, bigger than anything I'd ever seen, all know have the same amount of level of excitement. It was really, really cool. It's certainly an eye opener. Again, we had no idea that was even an industry. I mean we knew obviously about the new idea that it was about.

Ron:  Next comment here from Stephanie. She says, very cool stuff. Can't wait to see home automation and renewable energy becoming more of a norm. Thank you, Stephanie. Thanks for the comment.

Jessica: Appreciate it. Yeah, he's right. It's going to be norm folks. It's really important to learn about this and get in on it now because it's the way the world is heading. For sure.

Ron:  Now. One of my questions, I just got a comment. I have a side chat going here and I just got some feedback that things got echoey here. So if you're out there and things are echoey, I apologize. I promise we haven't changed anything. It's just the interwebs or Facebook not cooperating. So we will we'll just keep going. But I do keep a side chat here so that I kind of know how the product is going out on Facebook and if there's an issue we know about it in advance. Now one of the questions I had, Jessica at CEDIA, I saw that you guys were featured at SPI. So I guess it's part of the story line right now is that you guys had the smart breakers integrated with Control4, integrated with Crestron and integrated with the Eco Links product. Can you talk about, well first of all, and that concept of a smart breaker might be brand new for everyone that's listening cause it hasn't existed now and you really would not have heard about such a crazy thing up until right now cause it was just released. What is that, who's making that and how does that all tie in to this story of energy automation?

Jessica: Great question. So he partnered with a company and they create this intelligent circuit breaker where basically you would replace breaker in box and it allows you to launder the energy consumption at specific information, energy consumption with devices that are connected to that breaker. So now you can have your microwave, your refrigerator, and your TV, whatever connected to these breakers. That was a horrible example, but you get like this and it will be able to tell you how much power and energy these specific devices are using.

Ron:  So, as right now, like I've seen a lot of gadgets. I mean, I'm thinking back to last year when I went to SPI, I think it was in Vegas, if I'm remembering. And that was before you were there, Jessica.

Jessica: Before my time. Yeah.

Ron:  Before your time. And so I went out there and they, and I, what I saw demoed from a lot of vendors was the concept of these induction clamps that you could clamp on power feeds and distribution panels. And that's a way that you could in, you know, through kind of the internet of things, read in some intelligent ways, the power consumption in, from a power panel in a home. And that way, you know, power consumption times a kilowatt per hour cost, you could determine you know, overall cost of power consumption in a home and this new Eaton breaker is going to do all of that kind of intelligence natively inside of the little flip breaker. So if any of you out there that, you know, maybe not, aren't as tech savvy, don't know what a breaker is, you're, what the hell is he talking about? It's like the things in your garage that you, you know, 15 amp breakers or GFCI breakers or you know, actually GFCI would not be it. But various breakers that you can turn power on and off in your home. Those are now intelligent. They have an IP address and that allows this whole next generation of intelligence and controllability. If you could intelligently turn those things on or off based on what's happening in your environment or what's happening in your home. I mean that's game changing now. I was going to say just how does that, how does that work for the solar contractor or the CEDIA contractor that's doing energy automation, are they now also being tied in with Eaton so that they're able to gain access to that? Or is that all still kind of in the works and being figured out?

Jessica: That's a great question. So today to get access to those breakers, we partnered with two companies Pantech Sesign and Synegration. So a preprogram, some of those breakers. We'll base on the project that's going on. So we'll sit down with you and talk about what's important to the homeowner, what devices they would want to turn on and off, let's say in the event of an outage or turn on the, in the event of an outage. Right? And they would use that information to determine what breakers you need and then they would pre-program them pre-program those breakers for you and ship them to you, which you would install on the job. So I don't want to get too deep down the rabbit hole on the process side of things that's a bit granular.

Ron:  They can call you later and figure out any of those things. The beautiful thing of folks is that the engineer in me, my brain, although I kind of keep the engineer's sheltered, but it creeps up on me every now and then and I want to know more. I want to throw up on the screen, a couple of comments. We had Troy, this is great. Thanks for doing these One Firefly. Thank you Troy and it's all about having awesome guests is really what makes it work. And then Kris the one and only Kris Gamble of The Digital Ramble. And he and JJ Canon have some great content on social media. Kris is coming to us from the UK. He says, my energy bills are creeping up every month. I want to know what the main offenders are in the home. Does knowing the culprits of energy consumption, do you see Jessica that that's going to start working its way into the conversations from the homeowner?

Jessica: Absolutely. Absolutely. And there's no like right or wrong answer on that because now we have all different types of appliances of course, to help you man, more energy efficient than others. So, but yeah, that is certainly becoming a part of the big conversation and that is how these intelligent circuit breakers fit into the equation. So for example, your Crestron, your Control4 systems working with the eco lengths and it's getting data from these intelligent circuit breakers and it's determining, okay, well if we're either consuming a lot of energy in the home right now, we'll see what minor tweaks can we made to help maximize energy and let's say a peak time. So let's say it's, it's the nighttime. So Kris, to your point, new energy rates are creeping up. Well. Even here in the United States, people pay different rates for their energy. Depending on the time of day, people might pay 10 cents per kilowatt hour in the morning timeframe, and might spend 30, 40, 50 cents in the nighttime. Right. And a lot of us are seeing it all over the United States. So what this allows us to do now is take the information about what energy we are consuming in the moment and make tweaks in the home to help maximize the energy. For example, let's say it is the peak time, it's the nighttime and your Eco Links is running.

Ron:  Would peak rates be during the day or the night. Typically the most expensive power?

Jessica: It varies. Typically it's in the nighttime. Typically it's in the nighttime because most people aren't home in the day to consume a lot of energy. But then of course they come home from work and school and there's a huge spike in energy needs. So you have these utility companies to meet that growing energy they fire up, they're also very expensive, but they can generate power, that is what utilities rely on to help meet the needs of the huge spike in energy consumption.

Ron:  So I'm assuming peaker plants are able to turn them on quickly?

Jessica: Yeah, it's fast. They can, they can generate power very quickly. They are very dirty and they're expensive. It's expensive for the utility companies to do this. So why are you paying more rates in the nighttime? Because they're, you know, they have to offset those costs, right? They're passing that cost along to their homeowners. So back to the original question, how does the system work into all this? Now you have your eco lengths and you have all of this clean and renewable energy that you generated from earlier in the day, and now you can use that great clean energy instead of paying those high rates and relying on the utility to power loads in your home. Now you're using clean energy and now you're using data from these circuit breakers. If you want to right, to make decisions in the home, right? Like how can we lower, we have X amount in our battery power, we have X amount of battery power left right now. How are we going to maximize that? Well maybe I'm going to turn the light a couple of lights off. Maybe I'm going to lower the shades, right? Do some key. Maybe we're going to turn the jacuzzi off, whatever it is, but make adjustments in the home to help someone really conserve energy. And while all this is going on, it's based on data, real live data that that's coming from the breakers that's coming from your Sonnen Eco Link system.

Ron:  Let's look at Liz's question here, Liz. Thanks for watching listening. Greatly appreciate it. Awesome to hear about this topic. Energy automation seems to be the way the future for homeowners. Where does the typical homeowner need to know? What does the, I can't read clearly, what does the typical home owner need to know about how energy automation can help in a weather event or outage?

Jessica: Yeah, great question.

Ron:  I mean you gotta mail Liz a check for 20 bucks.

Jessica: Thanks Liz. No, you beat me to it. So we've been talking about ways to manage energy in a smart load management as we call it, but there's also a great other benefits, this smart weather forecasting. So for example, and this ties your question, Liz, for example. Again, the system is super smart and it's constantly reading what's going on in your surroundings, including the weather. So let's say you're anticipated to get a really bad storm. So your system's going to alert you to see bad weather is we anticipate you might have an outage. We're going to increase what we call your backup buffer of power, a backup buffer. So that's basically, typically people might only store 20% of their energy and keep it on reserve at all times in case there's an outage, a power outage, so that they can use it to power their home during an outage or key essentials. But if you know there's bad weather company coming, you want to prepare for the worst, right? So you're going to keep that backup buffer and you're going to take your energy reserve in your battery and you're going to charge it up to 100% so that if that power outage occurs, you're 100% ready, ready and waiting. On the flip side of that or to continue that when the power outage does occur again, the system is so incredibly smart and dynamic that it is reading all of all of your surroundings. So it's looking at is there solar production at that point in time? It's looking at the state of charge of your Eco Link's battery system. How much energy do I have in this moment? It's looking at the energy history from your Eaton intelligence circuit breakers and it's looking at your energy consumption there. It's taking all that data and it's going to present to the homeowner some options. Hey, we see your power is out based on all of these things, all of this data we've collected, how long do you want to backup your home? Or what do you want to power in your home? And for how long? So what you decide to power, of course it's going to determine how long that battery lasts.

Ron:  Jessica I want to get to some more questions here as well. We got people active there. They're punching questions in a mile. So this is, this is great. We have a very active audience. I didn't want to cut your explanation short, but would you believe we've already been on 40 minutes?

Jessica: Oh my goodness. Time. Time flies. I'm pumped up about this topic if you can't tell.

Ron:  I know, I know. So Kris is saying, I want to replace energy efficient devices in my home. This will help me. Now what else did he say? There was a question here. The Eaton breakers, are they in the US only or are they global? Do we know that yet?

Jessica: We do not have the answer to that. I know they're definitely in the United States as far as globally. I unfortunately don't have an answer to that right now. We can find out for you though, Kris.

"Humans aren't the most eco-friendly species."

Ron:  Yeah, for sure. And then we have Randall, he says he's coming to us from the southern coast of Maine. Thanks for thanks for watching and listening and commenting. That's fantastic. Yeah, of course. I think Randall may be, didn't hear that earlier part of the conversation, but that is OK. If you're watching on replay no, Randall's probably live with us now, but this recording will be live and you'll be able to go back to the, you know, just maybe 10 minutes ago or so where we were diving into that, but they are Eaton breakers. Eaton has partnered with Sonnen and Pantech Design and Synegration to make this energy automation topic a reality. Oh my goodness. And what is he saying? He's saying that he's a Lutron residential service provider. Right. Go Lutron man, there's actually quite a bit of comments here. So can we use AI and learning from my energy system to tell my tech to work smarter? Humans aren't the most eco friendly species. So that's an interesting question. And I see we're getting a bit digital here. So I don't know if, I don't know if that is Facebook or what that is. Let me pause here while I reload the page. See how it looks. Yeah, it's, you know, Facebook has these issues. If you're out there, comment, tell us if you can still hear us. Okay. I'm going to see, I'm going to press forward and assume that you can hear me. Jessica, maybe we have time for maybe one or two more questions cause I am mindful of your time and I know you have places to be and such. Is artificial intelligence tied into this tech yet and or will it be, is that part of the game plan?

Jessica: That is part of the game plan and we're certainly continuing to evolve that and the capabilities here, but it is looking at all those things again, it's taking this data, it's making educated decisions. So we're at step one of that and it's definitely something that we are continuing to evolve as we grow this product, product line and capabilities of it.

Ron:  Okay. what is Randall said hope you don't mind if I use this as a notepad Eaton breakers. Yeah. Yeah. I think Randall is making notes here on our chat, which is good. And I see Kelly says that the audio is still good, so that's, that's good to hear. And Kris says he can hear us as well. So that's great. I appreciate that. Kris. So Jessica, I think we probably should wrap up what our next steps cause I was like our, maybe our internet connection is deteriorating as we go. What are next steps for those in the audience, either live or on replay that want to learn more about Sonnen, want to meet you directly, what, what do you recommend? And I've got a neat little feature here. I'm going to throw one thing up on the screen that I can do which is, there's your website and what else?

Jessica: Yeah, anyone who is interested in learning more can reach out to me. You can put my contact information up there or leave comments here and there will certainly be sure to directly, we literally just scratched the service here. I could talk all day long about what energy automation can do and the value. We didn't really get a chance to talk about the value that all of this is going to really bring to the homeowners, which is really cool.

Ron:  Well, why don't we close on that, Jessica, I'll give you the chance to kind of present that. What is the value while I'm getting your email address. I'm going to put it on the screen here for everybody. So while I'm doing that, why don't we close with that?

"Imagine being able to go to them and tell them, Hey, you'll never have to worry about a power outage again."

Jessica: So immense amount of value. This is a first aside from the homeowner perspective, this is an incredible way for you to really elevate your business with an entirely new substance that is totally unique, totally new. So it really gives you a unique offering from the homeowner standpoint. Imagine being able to go to them and tell them, Hey, you'll never have to worry about a power outage again. So the peace of mind that comes with that, the fact that this is a system that's going to help them reduce their carbon footprint. So there are certainly those homeowners out there where really eco forward and that's very important to them so they can reduce the carbon footprint. They're certainly more resilient to whatever comes our way. Whatever utility changes come our way, you know, now you can use your own energy when you want, how you want or whatever you want in the home. You're more resilient to the weather and what's going on around you. And it's really giving you the ability as the homeowner, to also protect your smart home assets and your home automation assets, right? You have these homeowners, we meet them everyday folks that they spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on their AV equipment on their home automation system, right? And now you're not only gonna power that with awesome, clean energy, but you're also going to make sure all of those devices are protected during an outage situation. So there's certainly an immense amount of benefit there for them as well. And we see it each and every day. I mean, homeowners are really excited about this and they're most excited about the ability to have this dynamically, literally it's adapting to their lifestyle each and every day. Regardless of what's going on around them without, keynote for your guys and gals. It's without having any disruption to their lifestyle. And that's very, very important. So peace of mind, resilience, clean energy, security as we call it energy and insurance, really a great way to present this value to the homeowners.

Ron:  Jessica, I don't know that Blake could have said that any better himself. So you killed it. I know you were nervous about coming on to a live show and you're like, Ron, I haven't done this before. You, I mean, we're already getting comments here that what is Kelly saying? Kelly saying might have to bring Jessica back. Yeah. Randall is saying he seconds that motion. So we're getting then Kris here is spend money on energy saving systems before AV. Vitals before luxury. Amen to that. So Jessica thank you so much for taking time to join me with our audience here on episode 57 of Automation Unplugged. And if you're game, I would love to have you back.

Jessica: We're just scratching the surface run and anyone again, please reach out. I would love to chat with you about how to make this a serious part of your business. This is the way the world's heading and it's a great time to really start learning about this now. So thank you and thank you Ron for the invite. Great, great to be on the show and really look forward to coming back.

Ron:  Awesome. All right ladies and gentlemen, there you have it. That's episode 57. Automation Unplugged. Thanks for taking some of your afternoon. The show was a little bit longer cause like we're approaching 50 minutes, but I can tell you it didn't feel that way. We rocked through some really fun content and Jessica is obviously a very impressive woman and she's great to have on there and it's very comfortable asking her questions because she knows her stuff. She's a rock star. So what am I going to do here? I'm going to throw up on screen. You know what, I'll just throw it all up there at once. I had meant to do one of those. So the first one is One Firefly is on Instagram. If you have not gone to the gram and followed us, please do so. We've got cute puppy pictures and all sorts of fun, interesting AV industry stuff. And actually, you know what, if you go on there today or actually it might be tomorrow, you're going to see a really cute picture of our puppy, my puppy from my household, Charlotte. And I know it's not a Halloween picture and today is Halloween. Happy Halloween. But nonetheless, there's a lot of fun content there. So let me take that down. And that's how to get in touch with us. Here at One Firefly, go to our website, give us a call. And on that note, I'm going to sign out. I will see you next week. We have more great guests planned. Bye everybody.

Show Notes

Jessica Weiss kicked off her career as a Group Sales Manager for a major hotel in Center City Philadelphia - The Crowne Plaza Hotel (which eventually became Sonesta Hotel). After several years in hospitality, Jessica decided to use and expand her skills in a new industry and joined Lutron Electronics in 2013. At Lutron, she spent over 4 years on both the Shades and Residential Systems Marketing Teams to successfully promote and expand Lutron Shading Solutions, Caséta Wireless, RadioRA 2, and HomeWorks QS across Lutron’s various channels. During this time, she also developed, launched, and managed a highly-successful Contractor Rewards Program - Lutron PRO. In December 2017, Jessica decided to bring her passion for lighting control and home automation to an entirely new industry - renewable energy - upon joining the Sonnen Team. Jessica has served several different roles at Sonnen - including a Sales & Marketing Leader for the Northeast, Program Manager to develop and launch several Preferred Partner programs, and (most currently) Business Development Manager for Energy Automation and AI. In her current role, Jessica is using her passion and expertise in both home automation and renewable energy to educate and inspire others about energy automation with ecoLinx - a concept now possible for the very first time.

Ron Callis is the CEO of One Firefly, LLC, a digital marketing agency based out of South Florida and creator of Automation Unplugged. Founded in 2007, One Firefly has quickly became the leading marketing firm specializing in the integrated technology and security space. The One Firefly team work hard to create innovative solutions to help Integrators boost their online presence, such as the elite website solution, Mercury Pro.

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