Robotic Umpires and Scorekeeping

tennisballPerhaps you have all noticed how prevalent electronic measurements have become in tennis for what used to be dominated by human judgement.  Anyone who has watched recent tennis matches has to have been impressed with the precision of the “in vs. out” calls on serves including video simulations of the ball motion.  And, of course, every serve is now measured for speed which is posted for all to see.

Lots of “analytics” have now emerged as well.  A player can study how their opponent hits and review return percentages on almost any shot.  And, what was once subjective perhaps can now be described by a more instructive set of numbers.  The scoreboard is the final arbiter, but now the leading indicators are known with precision that historically was impossible.

Today’s WSJ had an article on how robotic umpires are likely to replace the existing umpires calling balls and strikes.  Today’s technology can certainly do that.  I have to admit I am also amazed at the ability for computers to compute the yards to go in football games and paint the lines on the screen.  That makes my brain hurt when I think of all the computing going on.  Think of how instructive that is as you watch.

Yet, here we are in the energy industry and we still think the scoreboard is interesting.  We also seem to believe that customers will do something as a result of us graphing it and comparing them to their neighbors.

When will our industry be ready to move beyond our scoreboard in the energy game?  Why is it we think customers want to watch the scoreboard?  Do we really think we can be relevant to customers by just showing them that?  A pretty graph isn’t going to cut it.

Apogee has three pilots going this summer that will probably change all that using inexpensive temperature monitors in homes that show homeowners how their house is operating.  Stay tuned.  This is going to get very interesting.

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