Tuesday, May 1, 2012

No. 127: The smart appliance market is expected to grow fast in a few years (May 2, 2012)

Business trend of the smart house market (8/8)
Smart appliances
Electric appliances with the mechanism to optimize power consumption automatically in coordination with smart grids and smart meters are called smart appliances. Generally, they have such functions as utilizing night power effectively and controlling power consumption when the total power consumption of the power grid exceeds a certain level. It will supposedly not take long for smart appliance to start spreading gradually because of the spread of smart meters, ever-increasing energy cost, and improved interface with smart grids. It is generally expected that smart appliance shipments will exceed 24 million units in 2017.

The smart meter seems to be the key to the spread of smart appliances. It is the next-generation power meter that allows for interactive information exchange on power consumption wirelessly or by optical fiber. The power meter is up to now a device that the electric power company checks periodically for charging electric bill, but the next-generation smart meter gives consumers information on power consumption in real time for power saving. Consumers can optimize their efforts for energy-saving by communicating with the controller that manages energy consumption inside the smart house.

Tokyo Electric Power Company plans to replace the power meter of 17 million households, about 60% of all households to which it supplies power, with smart meters by 2018. Western companies are ahead of Japanese companies, but Toshiba and Fuji Electric are energetically chasing them. Toshiba acquired Landis+Gyr that is a leading smart meter maker in Switzerland and Fuji Electric is collaborating with GE of the U.S. 

Smart life proposed by Panasonic 

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