Smart Solutions for Smart Meters

Imagine a world where during your normal morning bathroom rituals you can use the vanity mirror to make sure you are clean shaven or check your make-up, but also to check the contents of your refrigerator, plan that evening’s dinner, then invite family or friends simply by dragging their pictures into a message and sending the invite straight from the mirror. By using the same mirror you could check the real-time cost of energy from your utility supplier and decide whether or not it is a good time to switch on the dish washer or washing machine. Imagine another morning waking feeling under the weather. Instead of finding your phone and ringing up your doctor to make an appointment, you simply rest your hand on the mirror. All your vital signs are sent directly to your doctor who seamlessly responds back with a message indicating you have a slight fever and recommends you spend the day taking bed rest and fluids.

To some, these scenarios may sound very scary, to others very useful. Is it science fact or science fiction? The future is the ‘connected’ home. All of your appliances communicate with each other and, in turn, talk to your energy supplier and to you!

Some of those things to me sound very useful, especially the part about energy costs. As a matter of fact, smart meter technology already exists. Maybe not from a bathroom mirror, but certainly from a home dashboard or mobile app. Molex is working with some of the leading manufacturers of smart meters to bring this technological capability to the masses.

We are all aware of the strains our current energy usage puts on the planet. Surely any initiative that enables and makes the tools available to use energy more responsibly has to be a good thing. There are also personal benefits being able to judge the best time from an energy cost standpoint to run major appliances—that translates to more money in your bank account, not in utility provider pockets!

With the Molex comprehensive connector portfolio, from standard board-to-board and wire-to-board connectors to card edge and SIM card connectors for wireless communication applications, there is no design challenge we can’t meet with an interconnect solution. The two main communication protocols that will be used in smart meters will be either PLC (power line communications), where the data is sent and received over the existing power cables, or via wireless GSM / GPRS communications. Molex is well positioned to support both these protocols with its range of Mod Jacks used for PLC comms meters back in to the HAN (home area network) and a range of standard off the shelf antennas specifically designed for M2M (machine-to-machine) applications.

If you want to get ‘connected’ and ‘smart’ you best talk to Molex.

*video is from Freescale’s YouTube Channel.