For Christmas this year, I got a single smart light bulb. It’s quite a bit of fun; I can ask my Alexa to change the light’s colour from blue to pink, turn the light on or off, and even create a schedule for the lighting. That’s all pretty exciting, especially from a savings standpoint; I can be a bit forgetful when it comes to turning off lights, so to automate it is a delight. The trick is, I only gave one smart light bulb, so in order to achieve automation, I’d need quite a few more. Once I have enough, the sky’s the limit; I could wake up to an invigorating yellow light and go to sleep to a deep blue that shuts itself off after I’ve dozed off. The Internet of Things is upon us.
We aren’t limited to smart lights, of course; there are all kinds of smart devices that can be used to help you save on your electric bill. Smart thermostats are a particularly keen invention; you can use them to lower the heat while you’re away and increase it while you’re at home, and if you deviate from your schedule, you can advise your thermostat to start increasing the temperature before you arrive. These thermostats also monitor the overall energy usage of your house, so if you’re a nerd like me, you can delve into peak usage, how much it’s adding to your bill, and how much you can save by changing the temperature by a degree or two; when you have an electric furnace, that translates to tremendous savings on your overall bill.
We can imagine other smart devices coming to the fore in order to create even more energy efficient homes. A smart refrigerator might adjust its temperature based on its contents in order to always apply optimal cooling to energy use. A smart oven might alert you if it’s on with no contents inside, and you might be able to change the temperature on it with a voice command. Eventually, we might even get to the point where our entire electric grid is smart, with smart metres telling you exactly how much you’ve spent on electricity, and grid detectors warning you in advance if any changes to the charge in a given spot have occurred, or if a short circuit is detected. Smart technology is finally here, and it’s only going to get smarter and more integrated into our homes.
One of the prevailing worries about this is that no standards for smart devices exist; there are a plethora of different hubs, and each device might only work with a certain number. To standardize protocols so that every smart device works with every smart hub might be difficult, but in the end, will probably provide a lot of savings for consumers. In the meantime, your team of qualified electricians will keep looking for new smart devices that could bring you savings, and when we find them, we’ll be sure to let you know right here on this blog.