Soon, Your Cable Box May Help Manage Home Energy Use

Home energy management systems make it easy to see exactly how much energy you’re using, and at what times of day. They can even tell you which appliances are wasting the most power. With so much money and energy to be saved, why haven’t we seen widespread adoption? Simply put, cost. Not only are the systems themselves pricey, but they require smart meters, thermostats and various other appliances in order to work properly. But what if all of those extra devices just weren’t necessary?

Colorado-based Tendril Solutions and Hitachi Communication Technologies America Inc. recently announced a partnership that could make it possible for consumers to access the benefits of a home energy management system via an array of set-top boxes, wireless gateways and other devices that are already in the home.

cable television, DVR, energy consumption, energy conservation

Image via uberculture/Flickr

If you’re a regular EarthTechling reader, you’ve probably noticed that there are hundreds, probably thousands, of different devices, applications, and software platforms available for managing, monitoring, and controlling energy consumption. Early on, Hitachi noted the need for a unifying platform or ecosystem that could integrate services and applications from multiple providers. That unifying platform is the Hitachi SuperJ Applications Ecosystem, an open, Java-based platform compliant with OSGi specifications which provides lifecycle management for Machine-to-Machine (M2M) services and a wide variety of vertical market applications.

Combined with the Tendril Energize suite of web and mobile home energy management applications, this system makes it possible for telecom, cable, and mobile providers who already have gateways and set-tops in the home to quickly and easily add energy monitoring, management and device control to their repertoire of services.

The companies claim that this new offering will provide an economical and operational alternative to special-purpose gateways and other specialized hardware for each application used by the subscriber.

Just in case you’re in the area, Tendril and Hitachi will present a series of educational discussion forums about energy management via ubiquitous home gateways at the upcoming DistribuTECH conference in San Diego on January 29, 30 and 31.

Beth Buczynski is a freelancer writer and editor currently living in the Rocky Mountain West. Her articles appear on Care2, Ecosalon and Inhabitat, just to name a few. So far, Beth has lived in or near three major U.S. mountain ranges, and is passionate about protecting the important ecosystems they represent. Follow Beth on Twitter as @ecosphericblog