The next focus of smart home innovation should be to increase sustainability, according to energy management company Schneider Electric, which produces smart home devices under its Wiser brand.
It's a timely concern, after a year in which people's home energy use has been highlighted.
Schneider believes that within a decade, sustainable smart homes could be the norm, with homeowners making energy savings of 30-50% on standard costs.
According to Manish Pant, CEO and EVP of Home and Distribution for Schneider, the key to this change is a device he refers to as “the Fitbit of the home”.
The Power Tag sensor, one of three products launched by the company at this year’s IFA, is a plug and play sensor for an electric panel. It’ll work with electric systems in older properties, as well as new systems, to allow users to track energy consumption room by room.
The big difference between the Power Tag and similar devices already on the market is that the new device will give users a complete breakdown of how energy is being consumed. For example, if you have an old fridge that's draining more electricity than it should, the Power tag will identify it and alert you.
Users will also be able to set energy use goals and the Wiser system will send an alert if the target consumption is likely to be exceeded.
Schneider is already planning future analytics upgrades that’ll give homeowners the option to track energy use in terms of carbon emissions through the Power Tag sensor.
Users with a solar panel system can also monitor their energy production to make sure it's optimised and working efficiently and will, in future platform updates, be able to get power forecasts. Electric car owners can access advice on when it’s best to charge their car – either when the tariff is lowest or when excess solar power is available.
Schneider announced two other products: the Acti9 Active and a new temperature control system.
The Acti9 Active is designed to improve electrical safety and reliability by notifying users of electrical issues, including overloading or corrosion, before they become dangerous or costly. Households which suffer regular electrical overloading or problems during storms could see immediate benefits.
The new temperature control system will help users save up to 50% on energy bills by minimising wasted heat. The system, guided by machine learning, analyses the heating needs of each room, rather than the house as a whole.
Open window detection will soon be added to the platform. When the system detects an open window, the heating will be paused and the user will be notified via the app.
All products can be controlled via the Wiser app.
Manish Pant said: “The first generation of smart home products gave us room by room comfort control. Today, Schneider Electric is adding room by room energy consumption and in the future, carbon emissions information. Helping people better understand where their energy is consumed, the impact it has on the planet and enabling them to reduce use without compromising their lifestyles moves us closer to sustainable homes.”
The Power Tag will cost €50 euros (from £44). The Acti9 Active will cost from €60-80 (£53-£71) and the smart temperature control system kits will cost from €150-250 (£139.99-£219.99).
Products will be available to buy between Q4 2020 and Q1 2021 and will launch at different stages in different companies.