Smart Grid tops the CEA’s 2010 trends list

Annually the Consumer Electronics Association makes a list of the top technology trends to watch. The list, which has proven both accurate and insightful in year’s past, aims to guide CE manufacturers and the electronic system contractors that install their products, towards education, interest and overall awareness of technologies that may be impacting their business in the coming year.  

Not surprisingly, the Smart Grid topped the CEA’s list which also included  the evolution of content, growing the connected home ecosystem, the future of TV, and connected cars.

Though the rest of the list was interesting enough, but it was the Smart Grid data that interested me the most. The CEA research finds that 70 percent of Americans are concerned about the cost of their monthly electricity bill, which is predicted to rise with growing demand.

The report states that “demand for electricity is projected to increase nearly 26 percent from 2007 to 2030, or by an average of one percent per year,” and a need for energy efficiency will rise dramatically. “A growing population and rising disposable incomes increase demand for products, services and floor space – all of which increase electricity consumption.”

The most interesting part of the Smart Grid is not necessarily the Grid itself but the enabling technologies that will lead adoption by making the Smart Grid smarter, more efficient and  more accessible.

Smart grid technologies to watch are:

  • Energy monitors that show usage information from a home-based device or web application
  • Technology that allows consumers to set their thermostats, automate home lighting and even select what type of power they wish to purchase (i.e., solar, wind, etc.) and pay accordingly
  • Grid-tied appliances that can be run according to variable, time-of-day pricing
  • Chargers that recharge phones, digital cameras and MP3 players during non-peak times
  • Battery-like devices that store larger amounts of electricity for later household use
  • Smart-charging plug-in-hybrid electric vehicles 

The CEA’s report also highlights several green innovations, including:

  • Buckywires used for photovoltaic systems
  • Geobacter microbe that consumes oil-based pollutants and can produce electricity
  • Printable batteries
  • Organic Free Radical Battery Power
  • Self-Charging cell phones
  • Kinetic phones – power through shaking
  • Photosynthesis as a power source
  • Slider notebook
  • Solar-powered laptop

The report also recognizes that consumer awareness is a key to smart grid acceptance which means CE manufacturers and integrators need to make educating their customers a top priority in 2010.

posted by Kimberly Lancaster | Twitter

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