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Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Making Smart Plugs Smarter

Considering a broader view of 'smart', more like cooperative towards goals.

Engineers make smart plugs smarter  by National University of Singapore

Singapore is in the midst of its Smart Nation transformation, and researchers from the National University of Singapore (NUS) have a new invention that could take it a big step forward.

It is a network of smart electrical sockets controlled by a central computer, optimizing energy use throughout a building or even across buildings. The team that created this was led by Associate Professor Sanjib Kumar Panda from the NUS Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

So far, most people have used smart appliances in a very piecemeal way. For example, an appliance, such as a television or an air conditioner, is connected to the Internet, and then controlled remotely from a mobile app. However, this approach is actually inefficient, so the NUS team set out to improve it.

"The current trend is to put a computing unit in every new appliance, which generates a lot of e-waste and drives up costs, so we are avoiding that," said Dr. Krishnanand Kaippilly Radhakrishnan, who worked with Panda to develop the technology.  ... " 

Smart Electrical Outlet/Socket (SEOS) system

The NUS researchers' Smart Electrical Outlet/Socket (SEOS) system monitors and controls every socket in a building in real-time.

Each socket has a chip that communicates with the central server over WiFi. When an appliance is connected, the socket recognizes it through an electronic sticker on the plug, known in the industry as Near Field Communication. This is a concept similar to tapping a person's staff pass to enter the office. The electrical specifications of the appliance are then called up from a database.

Operators of a SEOS-enabled network can track and quantify how much energy various devices consume—including calculating energy costs—and then configure the system to deliver power only when needed.

The SEOS system can be programmed to completely switch off appliances when not in use, rather than waste electricity by leaving them on idle or standby. Appliances left on when not in use make up 25 percent to 50 percent of a building's electricity consumption. ... " 

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