Consumer Electronics Show to Feature Smart Home Technology – But Don’t Forget the Surge Protectors and Battery Backups

uninterruptible power supplies at home

This year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas will highlight some of the latest smart home technology, allowing homeowners to tell Alexa to make some coffee and turn on the TV, and ask Google to tone down the lights and turn up the heat – all while looking at their phone to see who’s ringing the doorbell. It’s all exciting, useful stuff – and none of it works without a reliable supply of clean power assured by surge protectors and battery backups.

Smart Home

Rapid Growth for Smart Home Technology

Power is at the center of the smart home opportunity, which is massive by any count. A September 2018 report by Transparency Market Research (TMR), for example, predicts the global smart home market will grow to $96.61 billion by 2025, at a compound annual growth rate of 14.6% from 2017.

It’s no wonder, then, that CES is dedicating a track to smart home technology, covering topics including “Smart Home Applications to Improve Well-Being,” and “Connecting Objects, Homes and Cities.”

While the technology is not exactly new at this point, it is poised for takeoff for a few reasons, according to TMR analysts. One is increased awareness among users around the need to curb energy consumption, which is driving demand for smart thermostats and lighting that can intelligently reduce consumption. Increased Internet and Wi-Fi use around the world is another driver, along with lower pricing for sensors and processors as Internet of Things technology continues to take off.

Expect Advances in Smart Home Technology

Overall advances in technology integration is another driver. Many smart home gadgets are already compatible with Google Assistant and/or Alexa – notably televisions and various sound systems. But I expect we’ll see improvements that enable your phone to interact with your washing machine, for example. Or perhaps your TV will integrate with your smart lighting to set it just right given what’s on the TV and the level of natural light in the room – without your doing a thing. Analysts at IHS Markit predict we’ll see more all-in-one devices that combine smart speakers, cameras, hubs, lighting, and Wi-Fi.

We’re also seeing lots of new options with respect to smart, video-enabled doorbells and other security systems. Smart speakers, too, are gaining new features and are just easier to use. (One I particularly like is the Sonos Beam, a TV speaker system that integrates with other Sonos wireless speakers and comes with Alexa integrated – nice.)  I expect we’ll continue to see a steady stream of smart refrigerators, microwaves, toasters, and more. Someday we will wonder how we ever did without the gadgets and gizmos that will fill the smart homes of the future.

Smart Homes Demand Surge Protectors and Battery Backups

But we won’t have to wonder if we don’t protect all these smart devices from power surges, swells and outages.

All kinds of factors can create power surges in homes, from the simple cycling on and off of refrigerators and air conditioners to utility work being performed outside the home. Such surges can damage sensitive electrical equipment such as all those smart devices we’re now installing in our homes. Over time, they can cause damage to major appliances, as well.

What’s required is a surge protector that detects and corrects such power anomalies, delivering only clean, safe power to connected devices. Various models are available with different capacities, including some that support USB ports for safely charging phones and tablets. Some now even incorporate smart technology, enabling you to remotely communicate with the device to turn on or off different devices connected to the surge protector.

Beyond surge protection, you may also want to protect smart devices from utility power failures. This requires an uninterruptible power supply (UPS), which provides battery backup power to attached devices in the event of a power failure. Here again, various sizes and models are available depending on how much backup power you deem necessary, whether a few minutes or several hours. That calculation will vary depending on the device in question. You may well want your security cameras to keep functioning during a blackout (especially if you’re not home) but can live without the TV.

How APC by Schneider Electric Can Help with Your Smart Home Technology

The point is, as we continually adopt smart home technology, and come to rely on how useful it is, we also need to think about how to protect it from power anomalies and outages. Surge protectors and UPSs can do the job, providing Certainty in a Connected World, as we say. Visit our home solutions page to learn more about the various options available, including this Alexa-compatible smart surge protector.

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