CellNet Data Systems Inc. formed an alliance with InfoSpace.com, a solutions provider for Web sites and Internet appliances, to offer prepackaged Internet services to electric, gas and water utilities through MyHomeLink.com (www.myhomelink.com), a wholly owned subsidiary of CellNet.
MyHomeLink.com will integrate InfoSpace.com`s content and commerce solution to offer utilities the ability to deliver U.S. residential customers Internet services through customizable Web sites. These services include access to electric, gas and water usage data collected and delivered over the CellNet network, alternative rate plans, online bill presentation and payment, as well as localized classifieds, banking services, community messaging and other e-commerce opportunities. In addition, the Web sites will be designed to fully integrate with a utility`s billing software.
The Web site will also provide the functionality to interface with a two-way thermostat or home-management systems and other electrical, gas and water devices that communicate directly with the utility using the CellNet network as a low-cost gateway to the home.
“The potential size of the market for MyHomeLink.com services in the United States is huge,” said John Seidl, CellNet`s chairman and CEO. “Revenues in the electric, gas and water businesses exceed $300 billion, utility meters exceed 250 million, and households exceed 100 million. Personalized utility Web portals-for municipal and investor-owned utilities-could increase connectivity to the Web in a material way.”
For utilities, the Web sites will enable a new marketing pipe to their customers, increasing customer service and loyalty while realizing additional revenue streams from e-commerce, Seidl said. “At the same time, this new service should lower utility cost structures through load management, online bill presentation and payment, and similar new services”.