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The smart, sustainable neighborhood

Robert Myers (College of Business, Georgia Institute of Technology Ernest Scheller Jr, Atlanta, Georgia, USA)

Publication date: 23 June 2021


Study level/applicability

Applicable to both undergraduate and graduate courses in managing technology or sustainability.

Subject area

Technology strategy.

Business Model evaluation.

Sustainable technologies.

Case overview

In this case study, gas and electric utility holding company Southern Company has embarked on an ambitious experiment to learn more about energy usage at a household level, as well as community scale microgrids. Every minute, 62 homes in Reynolds Landing upload appliance and electrical outlet level data to Southern Company. How can Southern Company use this vast amount of data to promote energy efficiency? Are microgrids a key to creating a more sustainable and resilient energy future? At a higher level, how can microgrids impact or change traditional power generation business models like those used by Southern Company?

Expected learning outcomes

1. To explore why companies develop technologies that are counter to current business models.

2. To understand how new technology can lead to new business models for existing businesses.

3. To understand the drivers of company led R&D.

4. To discuss “technology push” applications. Where technology is developed and then a market or markets are sought.

Supplementary materials

Teaching notes are available for educators only. Please contact your library to gain login details or email to request teaching notes.

Social implications

Two parts here. The first is looking at sustainable energy solutions such as solar farms and micro-grids. The second is this case challenges students to ask how this research helps the 45% of consumers making less than $40,000/yr.

Subject code

CSS 11: Strategy.



Myers, R. (2021), "The smart, sustainable neighborhood", .



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2021, Robert Myers

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