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Can Gamification Help Us Save Energy?


Gamification – the act of inserting gaming elements into non-gaming applications to help engage consumers – has had a considerable buzz around it for the past 5 years. Now that gamification has become a part of the zeitgeist there are many companies trying to implement it in different industries, the energy industry is one of these. But will gamification makes us want to save energy, and if they do will they actually save us energy?

According to IDC’s Energy Insights, gamification can help us save energy. While we’re still in the mists Energy Insights expect the utility industry to spend $65 million on gamification apps and tools this year, and that’s apparent when you look through the app store; there’s an array of energy apps offered by energy companies and external developers. One of the most popular is the Nest app. Linked to the Nest Learning Thermostat, the app gamifies how you view your energy consumption. Nest has received mixed reviews, but ultimate it’s a step in the right direction, albeit one that makes you more mindful of energy saving rather than gamifiying it.

That being said, a recent report found 80% of current gamified apps will fail due to their poor design. Industries need to focus on how they can develop apps whether they are created internally or externally, as ultimately it will help them in the future. While 80% may be failing, there is are still many energy apps that are getting it right, one of them is JouleBug. Learn and earn with the app as you become more conscious of energy saving. It’s a great idea and the standard other companies should be striving for. But unfortunately, JouleBug is a bit of an anomaly.

While gamification might not be helping us save energy at the money – at least not on a grand scale – there is hope for the future. Smart energy meter supplier SMS announced a huge increase across all its income stream during 2015.  Gamification is a fundamental element of smart energy meters so we can only predict their future together, but if developers can create engaging apps the rest will follow. The future looks bright for gamification and energy….

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