“Every once in a while, a revolutionary product comes along that changes everything.”
– Steve Jobs, Apple CEO, January 9, 2007
On June 29, 2007, Apple Inc. unleashed its first iPhone to the world, changing the way we view our freedom of mobility, while not forsaking our appetite for connectivity, productivity, and entertainment—on our own terms and without compromise.
Since then, the iPhone has achieved the status of cultural icon, garnering a legion of devotees whose product loyalty borders on fanaticism. Apple’s fanatical attention to detail begat fanatical consumers—willing to queue up for hours outside Apple stores around the world to be the first kids on the block to get their hands on the latest generation iPhone.
In retrospect, Apple’s playbook for achieving iPhone seems obvious:
- Make it attractive: According to conventional wisdom (and The Temptations), beauty is only skin deep. Maybe so, but the appeal of thoughtful ergonomics, elegant design, and quality materials is imperative to creating an enticing user experience. It also didn’t hurt that Apple already had thousands of iTunes and iPod users who took to the familiar look and feel and were seeking an alternative to the stodgy, gray flannel devices (think Blackberry) geared primarily to the business crowd.
- Simple, user-centric design: Put real people—not the corporate world— first. Focus on the real life tasks that take up most of their digital lives like communicating with others, listening to music and mobile payments, and make them easier, more productive, and fun.
- Build it well: Make it durable so that it will last— a no-brainer.
- Price it fairly: Although the iPhone isn’t cheap, the price reflects the value yielded by the vast array of capabilities as a many-devices-in-one solution. At time of launch, the price was still significantly less than traditional solutions which offered the same feature set.
- Make it play well with the other kids: The iPhone not only worked seamlessly with its siblings in the Apple family via comprehensive hardware and software integration, but it also worked well with third party apps via the Appstore and accessories such as printers, headphones, external hard drives and more that served to enhance its capability and flexibility.
- Create a community: As humans, we tend to want to belong to or identify with one or more groups. Through clever advertising, Apple leveraged that notion to turn consumers into community members who identified with the “cool kids”, distinct from the members of other, less cool communities that had yet to see the light.
- Break a few rules, shake up the status quo: iPhone was the first phone to say goodbye to the physical keyboard and introduce the touch display and stylish casing that catered to our lifestyles. Although some traditionalists initially balked, the touch screen has since become the de facto standard for user input. The love and ease of use of this device propelled the whole world forward as we were now connected to people all over the world, wherever we were in the world. (We’re not sure that taking away the headphone jack has yet met with the same enthusiasm.)
At dcbel, the brilliance, yet simplicity, of this playbook is not lost on us. In fact, we consider it worthy to tip our corporate hat to the Apple products that have raised the bar for all competitors in its field. Although our offerings are different from those of Apple, we’re confident that there are more similarities than differences—similarities in approach, philosophy, design, and purpose that position dcbel and our flagship product, dcbel™, to become the next game changer for prosumers, while setting the bar higher for the competition.
dcbel™: A new and better way to power your life
game changer (noun): an event, idea, or procedure that effects a significant shift in the current manner of doing or thinking about something. – Oxford’s English dictionary
The changing nature of the new energy grid involves a power shift from utilities to end users, who, in aggregate, will quickly become the largest energy generators in the system of Distributed Energy Resources (DERs). At dcbel, it is our mission to facilitate this shift, making the end user’s role a more proactive, cooperative, and responsible one to make the energy ecosystem work—all without requiring the user to lift a finger.
How? With dcbel™, our revolutionary flagship product and your next game changer.
Here’s how we did it:
Integrated all the disparate pieces you need to become a prosumer into one elegant system:
- The equivalent of two solar inverters, more than enough to power the average single-family home with the free power of the sun
- AC level 2 charger
- DC bidirectional fast charger, providing fast charging at home and blackout power during a grid outage
- Stationary battery charger
- Home energy management system
Consider the savings you’ll realize in terms of cost, wall space, and integration & communication headaches. dcbel™ also integrates with a stationary battery for extra back up protection!
Brought beautiful and clean design to an industry that has paid little attention to design:
When we first set out to build dcbel™, we noticed that many solar inverters, EV and battery charges were descendants of larger, industrial equipment including the ‘black box’ design language. Baked into our mission and who we are as a company is the idea that we want our customers to be able to easily understand how dcbel™ is constantly working for them. So instead of working off what already exists, we started at square one and reimagined the human relationship with energy.
We asked ourselves: “What do real families who are at the beginning of their smart home energy want and need and how can we deliver that?”
- dcbel™ has a 10.1-inch color screen, a rotary button to interact with the device, and beautiful user interface designed by pixel artist Fred Faubert, whose work experience ranges from Pixar to Lego to Warner Bros. This screen allows users to see how much backup power they have in reserve, when their EVs will be ready to hit the road and how much CO2 and dollars they’re saving each day.
- We also worked with Paul Deutschman who designed the Corvette Callaway and Porsche Spexter to come up with a sleek and robust plastic casing. We’ve lost count of how many different iterations we went through in order to get each inch perfect because the better design, the more positive the experience and ultimately, the greater likelihood of catalyzing the mass transition to a safer, cleaner, decentralized energy future.
- dcbel™ was designed with the highest quality materials that can weather the Minnesota winter and Arizona summer. The unit is fire retardant and has a unique water management system that protects the electronics from dust and water infiltration.
Gave dcbel™ its own Operating System (!):
Yes, you heard right. Orchestrate™ OS is the proprietary operating system developed by dcbel that uses AI-based analytics to learn your energy use patterns and adapt its decision-making to your specific life. You tell us your priorities – CO2 savings, dollar savings or a little bit of both – and we do the rest. As an integral component of the dcbel system architecture—along with the dcbel™ unit and our proprietary Chorus IoT platform—Orchestrate™ OS allows for over the air updates and the deployment of applications (APPs) to provide a variety of different services or analytics.
Created an awesome and easy-to-use mobile user app:
The dcbel™ Mobile App provides the tools you need to make your dcbel™ your dcbel™—a unique and personalized system for managing your smart home energy.
From anywhere in the world, you can use the Mobile App to:
- Backup Power Reserve: Know exactly how much backup power you have in your reserve in case of a blackout.
- Manage Charging: Schedule EV charging and know when your EV will be ready to hit the road.
- Supercharge: Power boost your charging in a pinch.
- View Savings: See your Net-Zero status and CO2 & dollar savings.
- Set it and forget it: Define your home energy consumption characteristics so that Orchestrate™ can forecast your energy consumption and generation to save as much CO2 and money as possible.
- Utility Rate Management: Specify your utility rates so that Orchestrate™ can consider time of use (TOU) rates and manage your consumption and generation in the most efficient and economical manner.
- View Historical Data: View how your system worked for you this week or month compared to another point in time.
- Monitor Energy Use: View your home’s energy consumption and view your EV’s range.
- Control Blackout Power: Enable or disable using your EV as a blackout power source.
- Family Accounts: Setup accounts for the other members of your household.
At dcbel, we are confident that by developing features that enable consumers to become active renewable energy producers & consumers and EV drivers, dcbel™ will be the next big game changer. But we couldn’t do it without the support of the passionate community of energy ambassadors and partners that surround us. Thank you for your support in challenging the status quo … your life and the world will be better off because of it!