CES: Consumer tech heavies move into smart home

LG, Panasonic, and others bring digital energy equipment for the home to CES to show off connected appliances, home energy management systems, and energy-efficiency gear.

LAS VEGAS--For some consumer electronics companies, the living room is just the start. Coming next is a home filled with connected appliances and gadgets that can be remotely controlled and programmed to shave down energy bills.

At the Consumer Electronics Show, LG on today touted its line of Thinq "smart" appliances , which use a Wi-Fi connection and a smart meter to bring features, such as programming appliances to work at off-peak times or diagnosing appliance problems through customer service online.

Its booth at CES featured its array of smart appliances, including a connected washer, dryer, refrigerator, and a robot vacuum cleaner. All devices can be networked and controlled with a PC or touch-screen device, such as a smart phone or tablet.

LG also showed off some features of its household appliances that make them more energy efficient, such as an alternative washer drum design. In electronics, LG is making improvements to its cell phones to reduce power consumption and improve recycling.

A few steps away in the Panasonic booth, the Japanese industrial giant has a display showing all the equipment it is developing for a connected, energy-smart home .

Panasonic this year is showing off a home energy management system that uses a small gateway device to connect to appliances and an electric vehicle charging station. From a TV, people can also see their energy and water consumption.

It also has a fuel cell that produces electricity and heat for hot water from natural gas. Meanwhile, Panasonic has developed batteries for home storage and recently closed its acquisition of Sanyo, giving it a line of solar panels to sell.

Elsewhere at CES, other large companies, including Toshiba and General Electric, are expected to show off digital home energy offerings. Several other companies are working on home automation from various directions, such as offering energy management with home security.

Verizon today showed off a home monitoring and control service it will begin pilot testing in New Jersey this quarter.

People will be able to purchase a kit which Z-Wave wireless devices, such as a Web security camera or wireless thermostat, and use Verizon's portal to manage security or program indoor climate and track energy usage.

 

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