Hydro Quebec launches its Hilo smart home brand, designed by lg2

Who: Hydro Quebec with lg2.

What: A multi-faceted project with the provincial utility, ranging from planning, designing and developing, to branding and advertising for a new mobile app and e-commerce platform to encourage energy conversation in the home.

When & Where: The project has been two years in the making. The brand was introduced last fall, while the smart-home app launched a few weeks ago.

Why: lg2 says the mandate was to “reinvent Quebecers’ relationship to energy.” Practically speaking, it’s a new brand that will include a suite of products and services—first for the home and later for businesses—to help Quebecers control their power usage and see just how much energy they are using.

“With Hilo, customers will become key players in the power industry,” said Éric Martel, then president and chief executive officer of Hydro-Québec, when the brand was launched last October (Martel left to become CEO of Bombardier in March). “Collectively, we can make a difference by reducing our electricity use, thus freeing up kilowatthours to power the Québec economy and increase our exports to other North American markets. Hilo will therefore help reduce GHG emissions while also creating wealth in Québec.”

How: To digitally transform an old-school utility, lg2 imagined a new smart home experience, deploying its digital experience team—from UX and UI, to front- and back-end developers—to design entirely new products and user experiences. “It was an incredible challenge to create a brand from scratch with a mission to spark a real societal transformation,” said Nicolas Baldovini, partner, vice-president, executive creative of digital experience at lg2.

The smart home offering includes light switchers and dimmers, thermostats and electrical outlet switches, all controlled by an app that Hilo and lg2 describe as a “control tower.”

“[U]users can manage their smart devices, track usage data and schedule automated tasks,” says lg2. “Through smart notifications and interfaces, users receive advice on their energy consumption as well as reports on how well they’re doing with their Hilo challenges.”

What’s a “Hilo challenge”? A series of challenges to lower the heat in your home during peak periods in return for rewards. The challenges are sent to the consumer as notifications, and the homeowner will have the choice to participate or not.

David Brown