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Smart-grid-ready washers, dryers, refs in 18 months

Posted: 15 Dec 2010 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:smart appliance? grid? consumer electronics? CE?

IMS Research reports that GE has scheduled shipments of smart home appliances by end 2011 or early 2012 while other makers are taking a wait-and-see stance as smart grid standards stabilize.

The market watcher predicted early adopters of smart appliances to be in the US then by Canada and subsequently, Western Europe. By 2020, about 10 million smart appliances will be installed in US households, IMS said.

GE is said to have designed its first wave of smart washers, dryers and refs to have a port to which a communication module may be inserted. This architecture, with external communication radios, allows GE to move forward with appliances that will be quickly, and fairly easily, modified to connect to the grid once the technology and communication standards are agreed upon.

Other appliance makers are acting more prudently, waiting for grid standards to stabilize before entering the market.

Analysts say the continued adoption of other peak-load management devices is a positive indicator for future growth of a smart appliance market. �Smart thermostats will lead the way for smart appliances, as a low-cost device that can shift a large percent of residential energy usage with little investment and no change in utility pricing structures,? explained Elizabeth Cruz, IMS reseach analyst.

IMS clarifies that it uses the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturer�s definition of smart appliances: �a product which has the capability to receive, interpret and act on a signal received from a home energy management system, utility, or third party energy service provider, and automatically adjust its operation depending on the signal's contents and settings from the owner?.

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