Intel and Toshiba are just two of the companies at Japan's CEATEC promoting "smart spaces" and energy monitoring.
TOKYO-Technology companies in the
United States may have curtailed some of their green IT efforts-particularly in
the area of energy-consumption monitoring-but it seems those companies' efforts
are alive and well in a more international context.
Toshiba and Intel have both used
presentations at the CEATEC conference outside of Tokyo to detail their efforts
in the energy monitoring, which leverage the cloud to provide real-time data.
Toshiba announced during its Oct. 3 event that it had acquired Landis+Gyr, a
company specializing in smart-meter technology, as part of its offerings
related to smart homes. It is also developing cloud technologies for a variety
of verticals ranging from city infrastructure to health.
Intel used its own Oct. 4 presentation
to offer a glimpse of an application for monitoring consumption, which gives PC
users access to a dashboard with accessible-i.e., cartoonish-graphs and stats
related to energy use.
"Smart space" and
energy-monitoring technologies aren't new to Intel. As part of his 2010 CES
keynote, Intel CEO Paul Otellini demonstrated his company's efforts in the
smart-home arena, including ways to manage energy consumption and send content
from laptops and PCs to home television screens.
But CEATEC's focus on energy monitoring
and smart homes seems particularly auspicious given recent pullbacks in the
United States. In June, Microsoft announced that it would discontinue its Hohm
energy-monitoring service in May 2012. Hohm, originally launched in July 2009
as part of a larger green-IT initiative that included the company's
Environmental Sustainability Dashboard for Microsoft Dynamics AX, took user
input about energy choices and made recommendations about how to adjust energy
use to save money.
"The feedback from customers and
partners had remained encouraging throughout Microsoft Hohm's beta period,"
read a June 30 posting on Hohm's official blog
. "However, due to the
slow overall market adoption of the service, we are instead focusing our
efforts on products and solutions more capable of supporting long-standing
growth within this evolving market."
Google also made the decision to close
Google PowerMeter, a Google.org project designed to help consumers track their
daily home energy usage in real time from an iGoogle gadget. The service, which
launched in February 2009, drew information from a home smart meter.
"We're pleased that PowerMeter has
helped demonstrate the importance of this access and created something of a
model. However, our efforts have not scaled as quickly as we would like, so we
are retiring the service," Google's Green Energy Czar Bill Weihl wrote in
a June 24 posting on The Official Google Blog
However, the CEATEC keynotes and
presentations are making clear that Japanese technology companies-and the
Japanese branches of global firms-are intensely focused on ways to save and
monitor energy usage. The tsunami and earthquake that struck the country
earlier this year, and the resulting power-grid issues, also raised awareness
of the need for smarter technology and energy efficiency.
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