Home automation finds growth opportunities in energy management

Editor's Note: To learn more about new ecosystems in energy management, be sure to check out VERGE@Greenbuild, November 12-13.

The big news last week in the world of residential energy management systems came when Vivint, a security and home automation services business, formally announced that it will be acquired by private equity firm Blackstone Group for $2 billion.

The acquisition's hefty price tag shows the remarkable growth opportunities many big players are sensing in the emerging field of home automation and energy management. Companies like Comcast, AT&T and ADT have started offering home automation services alongside their traditional services, and investors -- as evidenced by Blackstone's move -- are seeing opportunities as well.

Most home automation services include ways for users to manage energy usage with in-home panels or even remotely with smartphone apps.

As with many other companies moving into the home automation space, Vivint didn't begin like this. Originally a home security company called APX Alarm Security Solutions when it was founded in 1999, the Idaho-based company didn't start moving into the industry until several years ago.

"At that point, we felt like that home automation was not a service or product that most people could afford," said Todd Pedersen, co-founder and CEO of Vivint. "We thought there was a huge gap."

Smart grid meter image by Pi-Lens via Shutterstock

Next page: Vivint expands