Phones are great these days. They take pictures, play music, record video, remind you to buy flowers for loved one’s birthday, and tell you where you are when you get lost. The average mobile phone has more computing power than Neil Armstrong took with him to the moon. The hosts of my web domain now have a portal to manage their servers using an iPhone. Yup, phones are really powerful computers that can do lots of useful things. So why are there no phones that give you a real time update on how much your next bill will be? For a start, the phone knows what calls you made, who to and for how long, so there is no shortage of raw data. All it needs to calculate a bill is to add a little bit of tariff data, perform a few multiplications and – bang! – the customer can see how much their bill will be in real time. Which would be great for people on the move, like me, traveling from country to country and just a little bit curious to know how much their roaming bill will cost.
As far as energy is concerned, the UK government has realized the importance of presenting real time data to customers to help them manage consumption. In order to help reduce energy use and carbon emissions, they have launched a consultation which covers providing bills with graphs showing historical usage and using smart meters as well as giving customers real time feedback on use. The idea is that if people know how much things cost as they use it, they use less. Sounds obvious, really. What was my question again? Ah yes, why are there no phones that give you a real time update on how much the next bill will be? Ooops, I think I know the answer now….