An alliance between Ford Motor Co. and Microsoft will enable Microsoft Hohm, an Internet-based service, to help electric vehicle owners optimize their vehicle recharging needs and better manage their home's energy use. Hohm can also help utilities understand and better manage the rise in energy demand expected from the surge in electric vehicle ownership. "Smart Grid uses digital technology so that an energy grid does much more than simply deliver megawatts on demand. A smart grid creates a more intelligent energy ecosystem that connects every piece – from the solar farm or power plant all the way to the home. It knows where an outage is — and possibly identifies and fixes the problem before it even happens. The smart grid also could lead to widespread use of smart meters, home energy-management systems, and programmable thermostats."
In addition to being transparent, the in-home piece needs to be easy to use. Utilities count on technology companies to develop new capabilities in a way people will want to use. For e.g., home energy management is a booming market. Go to Bing and search on "home energy management" to see the multitude of hardware and software choices consumers have today.