Outcome: Innovation emerged as a central theme in SmarterUK’s work in 2019, and particularly our policy recommendations to HM Treasury and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS). In April, our response to the National Infrastructure Council’s Future of Regulation call for evidence underscored the centrality of innovation, arguing that if it is to play a major role in future markets, and be adopted at scale, regulators must ensure that it is achieved at the lowest cost to consumers. The BEIS Select Committee on Energy Efficiency included our recommendation in its final report, in which we highlighted the necessity of a long-term view and ambition for investment in energy efficiency, should the UK meet the Clean Growth Plan’s target of all UK homes Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rated C by 2030.
SmarterUK participated in the Energy Data Taskforce, which set out five key recommendations to modernise the UK energy system, which were endorsed by the UK Government in its October Environment Bill. The taskforce based its strategy around two key principles: filling in the data gaps which requires new and better-quality data, and maximising its value by embedding the presumption that data is open.
In Mobility, the UK Government’s Future of Mobility: Urban Strategy set out its vision of the benefits it wants to see from innovative new mobility services, the principles that it will judge these services against, and an ambitious regulatory review. The Strategy echoed many of the findings techUK published in its 2018 report, including a wide-ranging regulatory review into micromobility vehicles. We also contributed to Digital Vision for Mobility – a report by Atos that revealed the impact of digital across transport and logistics, and how citizens, industry and the environment will stand to benefit.
Finally, a major 2019 highlight for the SmarterUK programme was the launch of our report – The State of the Connected Home – in June. The report’s key findings included an unprecedented awareness of the “smart home” by consumers, with strong confidence and brand recognition, but barriers to adoption remain – namely cost. We also found that the increase in smart home device usage will allow the wider energy, automobile, and connectivity providers to further innovate and work with Government to tackle key environmental challenges. To further champion the report’s findings, we facilitated a Connected Home campaign week, with blogs, commentary, press and a podcast.