Companies and homeowners can now use the Internet to monitor the energy consumption of their appliances. Zerofootprint of Toronto has introduced the TalkingPlug, an apparatus that plugs into a regular electrical duplex receptacle outlet and enables two-way communication with the Internet. The device doesn't require users to rewire circuits or upgrade appliances.
The TalkingPlug sends appliance-specific energy consumption data to a local gateway for data collection and storage. Zerofootprint's interface visually displays the data using graphical meters. The Web-based software can analyze, compare and display trends on energy-consumption data. The software also allows users to remotely or automatically turn off appliances when not needed.
For industrial control applications, or even a simple assembly line, that machine can go almost 24/7 without a break. But what happens when the task is a little more complex? That’s where the “smart” machine would come in. The smart machine is one that has some simple (or complex in some cases) processing capability to be able to adapt to changing conditions. Such machines are suited for a host of applications, including automotive, aerospace, defense, medical, computers and electronics, telecommunications, consumer goods, and so on. This discussion will examine what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.