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4 energy applications for smart home technologies

Avnet's Smart Building Automation 

It’s not all refrigerators in the Internet of Things

In 2010, a group of engineers invented a smart home application to cut the average energy bill in half, clamping down on about 10% of U.S. energy consumption. They were looking for something new and disruptive to do after developing the iPod, and they found it: their single invention grew into a product family, and was later acquired by Google for more than $3 billion in cash.

This was no novelty lighting solution or kitchen appliance.

It was home automation company Nest Labs’ initial creation of the Next thermostat, labeled “the world’s most beautiful” by Mashable. 

Many engineers struggle to find the right application to integrate into the overall connected home. But here are four energy and utilities applications that can transform a one-off technology into an integral part of the home of the future. Plus, we’ll demystify which pieces of interconnect and antenna technology can help you get the job done, too.

Weather stations

Weather stations are nowhere near new technology. However, smart station technology has progressed rapidly in the last decade. From UV indices to wind and rain sensing technology and temperature gauges, smart weather stations allow for a myriad of consumer-side sensing technology ideas. Plus, these can also connect to other smart home solutions like an HVAC that kicks on the air conditioning if the outside temperature reaches a certain level.

Components needed to get it done:

  • Wire to wire connector systems
  • USB products
  • Milli-grid connector systems
  • Capacitive and metal touch switches
  • FFC/FPC connectors

Water sensors

The average insurance claim for a burst water pipe is $15,000. So, while the need for a water sensor is less fun to a homeowner than say a remote-controlled lighting solution, it’s can be quite a necessary one. Powered by right antennas that function across a variety of wireless connectivity protocols, well-built water sensors can take a place next to any other home automation technology in importance.

Components needed to get it done:

  • Antennas
  • Wire to wire connector systems
  • Capacitive and metal touch switches
  • Board to board connectors
  • FFC/FPC connectors

Smart water, gas and electric meters

In the United Kingdom, every single home and small business is being offered smart water, gas and/or electric meters within the next three years. The move is supposed to “put consumers in control of their energy use” and encourage “energy efficiency measures” – an opportunity for engineers to jump on to mass production of meters as these initiatives begin to catch on worldwide.

Components needed to get it done:

  • Milli-grid connector systems
  • Capacitive and metal touch switches
  • FFC/FPC connectors
  • SIM and combo card connectors

Smart thermostats
This final application brings us back to the beginning: smart thermostat technology. With nearly half of the average American’s energy usage directly tied to something they can control, the thermostat, this might be the most natural place to bring new innovation into the connected home. While the global smart thermostat market was just under $800 million in 2015, by 2022, it’s expected to grow by 18.7%—plenty of opportunity for new movers even with big players like Nest in the space.

Components needed to get it done:

  • Board to board connectors
  • FFC/FPC connectors
  • Capacitive and metal touch switches
  • Antennas
  • Wire to board connector systems

What’s your great idea for the new connected home? Share with other likeminded engineers in online communities like Hackster.io or element14, which are breeding grounds for both startups and enterprises alike to see what technology might be in the homes of the future. 

four-energy-applications-for-smart-home-technologies

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