Artificial intelligence is changing the way we live, and that has the potential to bring major changes to the way we use energy.

Smart home automation allows folks from all income levels to become more energy efficient. Using a platform to further tie together appliances and loads, consumers can pick and choose their preferred efficiency routes depending on their lifestyle and budgets.

According to the Consumer Technology Association, about 5.5 million  units of Wi-Fi enabled devices are added to the internet each year. By 2020, the total is expected to surpass 21 billion.

That prediction has designers and manufacturers of consumer products looking for new ways to add value to products with Wi-Fi enabled features.

As artificial intelligence devices create opportunities for home automation, consumers will play larger roles in deciding how and when systems in their home are controlled.

Smart thermostats have been around for a while. Some electric utilities offer discounted smart thermostats to not only encourage consumer savings, but to help manage peak energy demand.

As the energy sources we use to generate power evolve— and management of the electric grid becomes more agile and sophisticated—the true potential of energy load control provides opportunities for more savings through wholesale power supply.

That’s challenging electric utilities to find ways to strengthen partnerships with consumers who are more interested than ever in actively managing their energy use. Two-way, real-time communications and artificial intelligence offer opportunities to learn consumer preferences and how best to reduce energy during peak demand periods.

“We could soon see serial commands allowing your appliances to interact with other devices,” says Keith Dennis, senior director of strategic initiatives for the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association. “Your HVAC system could learn your schedule and regulate heating and cooling for your comfort based upon when you are home. Instead of maintaining a steady supply of hot water when no one is home to use it, water could be heated during periods when demand is lowest and electricity costs less, and then boosted to ideal temperatures to meet specific needs like bathing, laundry or washing dishes.”