Honda’s Home of the Future

4/26/2012

Is your home self sufficient in the case of a power outage or natural disaster? The next-generation connected home may have the ability to not only reduce emissions on an ongoing basis, but also generate and manage consumption of energy on its own—without any help from the homeowner.

Or at least this is what Honda Motor Co., www.honda.com, is testing in its new HSHS (Honda Smart Home System), which it unveiled on this week. Honda has built two test homes in Saitama, Japan for single-family use, and plans to build a third in the same location. The homes will be linked for demonstration and testing, which will continue through 2018.

What makes these homes unique? The models run on a combination of gas, solar power, and a rechargeable battery. The Smart e Mix Manager obtains operation data from the various energy devices—a gas-engine cogeneration unit, a thin-film solar cell module, and a home battery unit—and analyzes household energy use. From there, the system can make decisions to optimize efficiency. Homeowners can also choose to remotely operate the data from an in-home display, a vehicle-navigation system, or a smartphone.


How does the system help your home operate in the case of disaster? The combination of the development of solar cell panels and gas-engine cogeneration units provide the means to keep energy for the home in case of a power outage.

But the home isn’t just smart; it is energy efficient as well. With the Smart e Mix Manager, the demonstration home minimizes emissions based on data. The system also optimizes the electricity supplied from the grid and aims to reduce the load on public infrastructure by studying a “vehicle-to-home” system to plug-in hybrid cars and electric vehicles.

In the end, the energy-management system provides a backup supply of electricity while reducing emissions from the home. But that’s not all. Honda’s home of the future provides notifications when visitors arrive or if lights or air conditioning are left on; remote control of appliances; and the ability to run hot water for a bath or lock a door from outside a home.

Honda’s test home isn’t necessarily coming to market anytime soon, but the connected-home technology that it is creating to manage and monitor homes and energy consumption isn’t a far cry from the systems that are already available.

On Earth Day, Walt Disney Resort turned smart-home dreams into reality with an exhibit that featured energy-saving technologies to improve home efficiency. With the technology in this home—which is all available today—homeowners can adjust temperature, turn on and off lights, lock and unlock doors, and monitor activity in the home from the Web.

Today connected homes are within reach. Recent research shows more than 8% of households in the United States will own at least one smart-home product or service by the end of the year, and the market will continue to grow from $7.6 billion in 2012 to $24.3 billion in 2017, reports Strategy Analytics, www.strategyanalytics.com.

Are you interested in learning more about how you can bring connected devices to your own home—or simply what this trend means going forward? Check out the Welcome Home panel at this year’s Connected World Conference, June 11-13.





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