Imagine the day you can come home and instead of your girlfriend or wife saying hi to you first, it’s ‘Siri’. ‘Siri’ is the iphone digital speaker that answers your questions. This is the way the world is going. Your home will now become more efficient and smart by talking back to you. This is beginning right now as we speak with smart meters being trialled and rolled out globally.
In the UK, “more than half of all households with smart meters are saving money on their energy bills” (Smithers, 2014). This will be in every home in the U.K by 2020 (Smithers, 2014). This is just a simple change from a manual person coming to read your meter, to the box digitally transferring your data to the company. This is a fantastic change as it allows consumers to understand their consumption and allow them to save money on needlessly wasted electricity in real time. Each house has a small digital monitor which tells you how much electricity is being used at the moment and by what. This has obviously helped households hugely in saving money. 64% of participants in the U.K have seen saving up to £75 a year, with 7% seeing saving of over £100 a year (Smithers, 2014). This is phenomenal savings. People noticed how efficient the fridge or the tumble dryer is and so can make changes if they are not up to standard (Smithers, 2014). This will help businesses and manufactures as they compete to further improve their appliances use and technology. This is the beginning of the future.
In Ireland, The commission on energy regulation announced the roll out for smart meters to be between 2014 and 2019 (King, 2012). This is great news although slightly behind the U.Ks expansion. This will cost the state €1 billion but the commission sees the state increasing the return by €229 million after a 20 year period (King, 2012). They also see many non quantifiable benefits like better informed consumers, better standard of living and better integration with renewable energy (King, 2012).
In the United States, they are further down the road of smart meters and it seems one potential dangerous issue has developed. The level of information that is gained from the data is not being managed correctly (Carson, 2011). Companies are giving consumers general insights about their usage and keeping the real gems for themselves, in order to maintain profit (Carson, 2011). This will need to be regulated by the State.
This is the beginning of the internet of things. Where every device is interconnected but there is also worrying signs about data collection and lack of regulation in this area. This will need to be monitored and the ethics of this will be discussed in a later blog post. Stay tuned for my next blog post on what kind of appliances are being turned smart appliances and by whom.
Carson, P. (2011, October 7). After smart meters, whats next. Retrieved from Intelligent Utility: http://www.intelligentutility.com/article/11/10/after-smart-meters-whats-next&utm_medium=eNL&utm_campaign=IU_DAILY2&utm_term=Original-Member
King, C. (2012, July 12). Ireland to roll out smart meters by 2019. Retrieved from Emeter: http://www.emeter.com/smart-grid-watch/2012/ireland-to-roll-out-smart-meters-by-2019/
Smithers, R. (2014, January 24). A third of smart meter customers are saving up to £75 a year. Retrieved from The Guardian: http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/jan/24/smart-meter-british-gas-energy-bills