Innovating the next generation of products and solutions for modern energy demands requires industry-wide collaboration to create smart connected homes.
Lucy Han, Executive Vice President for Building and Home Automation Solutions at ABB Electrification’s Smart Buildings Division, shows us what working in partnership can achieve through a soon to be launched community project in Sweden.
Smart connected homes
When it comes to the future of connected living and city planning, Covid-19 effectively condensed decades of social and behavioural change into the space of just a few months. We used to think of smart technology in terms of individual homes, but now adoption among multi-dwelling, multi-villa and larger developments is gathering pace as well, ushering in a new era of “smart communities”.
Imagine a home where devices and appliances are all connected through one centralized system, that saves you money, time and energy. Picture being able to comfortably and conveniently monitor and control everything from washing machines to energy and security systems with a single app across your mobile devices.
Pioneering net zero homes
Near the Swedish capital, Stockholm, a unique pilot project soon to be unveiled, is promising to help make this vision a reality. We’re working with our global partner, Samsung Electronics, to pave the way for the smart, connected homes of the future, enabling residents to save on costs and cut CO2 emissions more conveniently and holistically than ever before. This is an important milestone in smart home living because it demonstrates a standardized and holistic approach to smart home solutions in action. Thanks to the power of partnership.
With many millions of homeowners struggling with soaring energy bills, and ‘prosumers’ looking to save energy and costs while living comfortably and sustainably, making full use of evolving digital technology, the initiative offers ease of use thanks to an open, vendor-agnostic technology solution. Able to integrate with third party companies and domestic appliances, this technology can harmonise smart home systems, energy management processes and electric vehicle (EVs) charging controls. Built into the existing smart home ecosystem, the system interacts with heat pumps, rooftop photo voltaic systems and EVs.
Our recent acquisition of Eve Systems has enabled a giant leap in smart home products based on Matter and Thread, a new interoperating standard and wireless connectivity technology. Already integrated with Samsung SmartThings, Eve is a pioneer in the new Matter connectivity standard, which enables products to be fully interoperable – irrespective of the manufacturer and user operating system.
With the built environment responsible for around 40 per cent of CO2 emissions, decarbonising residential and commercial buildings is now a priority for governments and business. Through the energy they save and the carbon emissions they cut, smarter homes are a win-win for people and the planet.
Collaboration is key
Maximising the potential of smart buildings is a team sport, one that requires technology vendors to collaborate and share knowledge on an unprecedented scale. The net zero homes project near the Swedish capital is one such initiative, a compelling example of working together on the next iteration of products and solutions that tackle modern energy challenges.
Momentum is building. There has been a steep rise in home automation; according to Statista, the number of smart homes is forecast to grow and surpass the 400 million mark by 2024. Thanks to digital technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT), or the Internet of Energy, energy related IoT devices will continue to connect smart domestic devices with information such as electricity prices.
While being able to program a smart washing machine to run when electricity prices are at their lowest might sound like a minor ‘win’, in the UK the National Grid estimates that consumers could avoid 30–50 percent of grid fluctuations if they adjusted power use during peak periods. Small changes add up to huge savings.
Visualised fingertip intelligence was, until now, the preserve of commercial buildings, but ABB’s next iteration of products and solutions will address use cases like how to meet the demands of all home energy concerns. These solutions not only empower homeowners to better manage their immediate energy bills, but they will also help them to optimise their consumption habits over the long term.
We envision a future where residents can enjoy significant energy and carbon savings by enhancing access to fully connected smart home technology – a true step towards a more sustainable world.