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IoT Communities: Eneco Builds Relationships Around Its Smart Thermostat

We talked last week about the value that community conversations can add for organizations in the internet of things (IoT) space. One inSided customer that’s leading the charge for greater connectivity in IoT is Eneco, a Dutch energy supplier.

Eneco used to be like any other utility —selling power to individuals and businesses. Changing customer expectations led it to migrate to a services model, where instead of simply selling energy, it helps its customers manage their energy consumption.

A linchpin of this shift is Eneco’s Toon (“Show”) thermostat, a tablet-like device that lets households configure and analyze their energy use.

Not only does Toon give the consumer more control, it provides a new revenue stream for Eneco of a few euros per household per month. At the same time, the device deepens the relationship that the utility has with its customers.

Toon can be programmed to notify users if their energy use spikes, while also giving real-time updates on consumption. That keeps energy top-of-mind for Eneco’s customers, helping them link their behavior to their energy use.

The Toon thermostat is so important to Eneco that it created a dedicated microsite for the device—with a dedicated inSided community to match.

An IoT Community in Action: Utility Eneco Builds Relationships Around Its Smart Thermostat

On the Toon community, users discuss optimal configurations, devices that connect to the thermostat, and problems they’re experiencing. Even Eneco has been surprised by the engagement that the community drives.

“It’s all about people, content and ideas,” community manager Stefan Verhoeve told us. “It is beautiful to see that people are so actively involved in a company that supplies power.”

That statement sums up Eneco’s hope for Toon—that it will lead to more sharing, smarter energy use, and enhanced relationships with customers. The Toon community humanizes the Toon experience through conversations, offering a compelling example for companies in the nascent consumer IoT market.