With the Internet of Things becoming an integral part of everyday living, even the process of controlling energy consumption has entered the realm of connectivity. Cody Miller, an entrepreneur from Denver, turned this concept into reality through the Ion Smart Outlet. This handy energy saving device remotely controls electricity usage through a smartphone or electronic tablet.
The innovative device seeks to address standby power issues (also known as vampire power usage) at home and at work. Homes and businesses unknowingly waste power every day. Plugged electronic devices, even when turned off, still siphon electricity from the grid. Even if that device looks blissfully resting in one corner, it may be quietly tugging through the electric meter.
Just to give an idea on the level of wastage vampire power can cause, think billions of dollars. According to a 2015 report from the National Resource Defense Council, vampire power racks up energy costs when devices are turned off but remain plugged to an outlet. In total, these idle devices accumulate around $19 billion a year in wasted energy costs. This translates to expenditures of approximately $165 per U.S. household on average, according to the council.
The Ion Smart Outlet, coupled with home energy solutions such as a smart lighting setup, could potentially lead to monthly power savings for the home or business owner. The device comes in 15 and 20 amp versions, which can be used for residential and commercial applications, respectively. Installation of the device can be done manually in an existing building, with instructions provided on the product packaging. The device setup is similar to installing a power outlet. It can also be integrated into the electronic wiring system during building construction.
The device can be controlled via an application downloaded to an IOS or Android device. It is also compatible with the Amazon Echo or Google Home, two of the most popular voice-powered home assistant gadgets in the market today. In terms of security, the manufacturer assures that the device comes with AES-128-CBC encryption.
Miller, who works for the Weifield Group Contracting in Denver, has turned to the fundraising site Kickstarter, seeking capital of around $250,000 for his innovative solution. So far, the campaign has received less than $10,000 in customer pledges. Miller told the BusinessDen.com that the funding will “cover manufacturing and tooling expenses.” In the future, he said he plans to expand his product line to include dimmers and other smart lighting solutions.
While the Ion Smart Outlet proposes to reduce electricity usage at home, the NRDC report affirmed that on a larger scale, if U.S. based households would reduce on-load for idle gadgets, several benefits would be achieved. First, $8 billion in annual utility bills would be saved. Second, carbon dioxide emissions from residential electricity generation would be reduced by 4.6 percent.