Among the most talked about benefits of adopting the smart home, energy saving is certainly on top of the list, as it has a direct impact on people’s energy bills. But with all the talk about energy efficient devices and those that can reduce energy consumption, like smart thermostats, how about taking a step further to have homes generate and intelligently manage electricity?
For Techmation, energy management takes center stage above all else, including the smart home, which revolves around it. The company provides Energy Management System that includes solar panel, power meter, smart power meter and smart plug, among other devices.
“If you have good energy management, then you can do many things like the smart home because it is just one application of energy management” said Ethan Chan, vice general manager at NBC-iGD of the company.
The Energy Management System features intelligent management of mixed power sources—solar panel, battery and grid/power generator—to lower grid dependence and thus electricity costs. The system is “smart” in the sense that it can figure out how the electricity flows depending on the circumstance and by prioritizing different power sources. For example, users can set the system to use solar power first before tapping into the battery, the grid or the power generator. When there is a surplus of power generated, homes can even sell it back to the grid.
Another important feature is that it tracks energy consumption and presents data in graphs and charts for easy visualization. Real-time monitoring is also available so users know right away how much energy each device is drawing or if certain devices are drawing too much energy. When there is an anomaly in energy usage, the system alerts the user to avoid possible hassles or dangers. Chen said that anomalies could be due to blackouts, electrical fire, or someone stealing electricity, for example.
Adding to the Energy Management System, the company also offers Security and Surveillance System and Environment Monitoring System to make up its smart home system. The Security and Surveillance System includes IP camera, outdoor and indoor intercom units and window latch, whereas the Environment Monitoring System includes PM2.5 sensor, CO2 sensor, temperature and humidity sensor, air conditioner control panel, smart light switch and smart curtain switch.
All three systems can connect to the Central Controller, which connects to the cloud for remote access, for centralized data management. Sub-1GHz and ZigBee are used for wireless communication.
Chen expressed that the company sells its systems through system integrators and is already selling them in Japan. He is also optimistic about markets like Germany and countries in Southeast Asia such as Vietnam, the Philippines and Myanmar. For the future, it will push for microgrids and expects to see communities generating and selling electricity.