Power Strip Takes Energy Use To the Cloud

Right now, in homes all across the nation, there are devices unnecessarily drawing power while turned off. TV’s, A/V receivers, subwoofers, game consoles and many other electronics with “standby modes” may appear to be turned off, but they are still drawing power and costing their owners money each and every day. It has been suggested that, to save energy and money, one can either unplug the device or flip the switch on their power strips and surge protectors to cease the flow of electricity when the devices aren’t going to be used for an extended period of time. For whatever reason, though, this notion doesn’t seem to have caught on.

Japanese tech company Ubiquitous has designed a so called smarter power strip that could offer a solution. The “iRemoTap” looks like many other power strips and surge suppressors but buried inside is a microcomputer and a wireless LAN adapter that allows the device to connect to the internet and send power consumption data to “the cloud”. From there, users could look at graphs that display information about which devices consumer how much power and when they consume the most of it.

image vie TechOn

While this seemingly “smart grid” inspired approach may have been intended to enable users to “visualize power savings”, the product seems to have potential to actually reduce consumption because the iRemoTap can “control power supply to each outlet via the Internet.” So, conceptually, one could effectively remove power from devices while sitting at their work desk or waiting for their flight, even if they forgot to flip the switch before leaving home.

Ubiquitous says it intends to make specific plans on how to commercialize the iRemoTap and online services through field tests, etc. No word was issued on when we might see such a unit marketed outside of Japan but, if the idea catches on, we might all be able to conserve just a little more electricity and money from our computers and mobile devices.