New technologies promise home automation capabilities at lower costs than ever before. Busy families and those with physical limitations represent a fertile market for the new technologies. Utilities, faced with fierce competition in a rapidly changing, deregulated business environment, are looking to deliver new customer services.
The confluence of these three trends presents a short term window of opportunity for utilities, consumer electronics companies and appliance manufacturers to gain early entry to a field about to explode with possibilities. To seize the moment requires an understanding of the history, technologies, the infrastructures, and markets of the home automation industry.
That's where Home Automation and Utility Customer Services comes in. This dramatic report, written by industry insider Ken Wacks, covers the home automation industry from basement to attic.
HistoryWacks traces the history of the industry from the home hobbyist phase of the 1960's through the recognition of home automation as a potential market bonanza in the mid-1980s to its current status poised on the threshold of becoming a billion dollar market.
Infrastructures and standardsHis report covers the major infrastructures and standards that are vying for dominance in the nascent industry. Learn how the Consumer Electronics Bus (CEBus) an open standard developed by the Electronics Industries Association (EIA) differs from LonWorks technology of Echelon Corporation. See which utilities are supporting each approach, and see how they compare to SMART HOUSE, X-10, BatiBUS, European Home System, European Installation Bus, and Japan's Home Bus System.
EIA continues to support maintenance of the standard while a CEBus Industry Council has been formed to push the standard in the market. Sponsors include IBM, Honeywell, Intel, Pacific Gas & Electric, and Lucent Technologies (ne AT&T), among others. Echelon is pushing to have its LonWorks approach be considered a home automation standard as well. Issues to be resolved include terms for licensing, and which features to include in the standard.
A billion-dollar market?Current market estimates range from several millions of dollars to one-billion dollars or more. Whatever the real number may be, product announcements, corporate research reports, marketing of wiring infrastructures for homes, publications aimed at the home automation industry, and exploration by energy utilities of new customer services based on home automation all indicate that the industry is growing and evolving. The report explains how the industry will be influenced by the housing market, consumer demand, the trend to home offices, and demographic trends as the baby boom ages.
The technologyBut just what kinds of technology go into home automation? There's communications--learn why digital is the way to go; local area networks--follow the evolution to LAN standards; communications protocols and media--find out how fast data can be transferred and what's the best way to carry that data. A special appendix discusses the challenges and promises of power line carrier communications--one of the keys to successful, low cost home automation.
What should utilities do?And then there's the utility connection. With the coming of a competitive environment, utilities are seeking to diversify their product offerings beyond energy. Value-added services, extending to home automation, represent the chief means for utilities to differentiate themselves. Find out how utilities must struggle to balance the need to maintain a return on shareholder equity, conform to local and Federal regulations, and survive in a competitive environment. Discover possible strategies that adventurous and conservative utilities can take to secure their place in the new environment.
Learn which electric utilities are experimenting with providing services and capabilities such as automatic meter reading, monitoring of power quality and delivery, detailed billing data, staggered power restoration, tamper detection, appliance diagnosis, telemetry services. Gas utilities are covered too, with such services as monitoring gas flow and quality, monitoring pipe corrosion, determining load profiles, distribution safety improvements, detection of meter tampering, monitoring indoor air quality, and coordination of fuel switching.
Summaries are presented on a number of utility projects, including: American Electric Power's time-of-use pricing trial with TranstexT technology; Cable Utility Communications Services with trials in progress at Southern California Edison and Virginia Power; Central and South West's trial with First Pacific Network's communications equipment; Detroit Edison's Intelligent Link Project using LonWorks technology; Lucent Technologies' trials with PSE&G and Consolidated Edison; Pacific Gas and Electric's Energy Information Services project; TeCom's InterLane energy management and home automation system; and Wisconsin Electric Power's alliance with Ameritech to develop customer service capabilities. Size, scope, and status are discussed for each project.
The playersThe report also covers the major players in the industry--learn who they are and find out about their major activities and strategies. An appendix to the report provides contact information for 40 of the major companies and organizations that are helping to shape the field.
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Table of Contents
OVERVIEW OF THE HOME AUTOMATION INDUSTRY
DEVELOPMENT OF A HOME AUTOMATION MARKET
FEATURES OF HOME AUTOMATION NETWORKS
ENERGY UTILITIES AS DRIVERS OF HOME AUTOMATION
ENERGY UTILITY DEVELOPMENTS
STRATEGIES FOR UTILITIES
APPENDIX A -- Home Automation Companies
APPENDIX B -- The Challenges of Power Line Communications
LIST OF FIGURES
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Home Automation and Utility
or e-mail Ms. Annie Cavlov at Aspen Publishers email@example.com
Kenneth Wacks, Ph.D. +1 781 662-6211