Smart homes

It’s Time To Control Your Home With A Single Touch!

Smart Walls Are Coming

Sit back and gear up! While the world is becoming increasingly more connected with the internet being connected to almost every appliance we have from our phones to even the fridge and door-bells, nothing could be more exciting than the latest innovation in smart wall technology that could very well change the way we live at home forever.

Researchers from the Carnegie Mellon University teamed up with researchers from Disney to transform our old boring walls into marvelous high tech smart walls. Just imagine sliding your hand down on your wall to turn on your television in the living room…or even holding down on your wall to check if the kettle you left on in the kitchen has finished boiling.

How Does This Technology Work?

You might be thinking – Not possible la! Don’t bluff leh!

Must we wire up our entire wall and install touchpads everywhere, turning our entire wall into a giant LCD screen -while spending tens of thousands of dollars in the process?

Nope. The researchers have developed a type of water-based conductive paint that can be rolled onto any wall to create electrodes on the surface of a wall. This innovation, called Wall++, will track a user’s touch and gestures through “airborne electromagnetic noise” — the same type of sensing your smartphone or iPad screen does.

With distance sensing and hover tracking, the smart wall can accurately sense gestures and pinpoint the exact point of where someone pressed or swiped the wall. Press to call and swipe right to answer the door? – It’s definitely coming soon!

But perhaps the best part might be the price tag on this. At just US$20 per square meter, we can probably turn out bedroom walls into smart walls at less than 200 dollars! (Unless your room is really really big lah)

Chris Harrison, the assistant professor in Carnegie Mellon’s Human-Computer Interaction Institute (HCII) stated that “Walls are usually the largest surface area in a room, yet we don’t make much use of them other than to separate spaces, and perhaps hold up pictures and shelves”. With this in mind, the team has now taken the first steps to turn our walls into high-tech remote controls!

Through its electromagnetic sensory technology, the research team has managed to use its electromagnetic sensor to track appliances like hair-dryers if they are held close enough to the wall. This alone opens up a whole world of household appliance tracking. Not sure if you left the living room’s television on while wasting electricity? The smart wall can help detect if the TV is still switched on and in the future, we might just be able to just swipe down on any wall near us to turn the TV off.

But How Can Smart Walls Really Help Us?

Don’t worry, we have compiled the 3 most common future ways Smart Walls can help us Singaporeans in our daily lives to make each day a little more shiok!

  • Use your wall as a master light switch! Press one thumb to turn on the living room lights, two fingers to switch on the bedroom lights and your entire palm to brighten up every room in the house (as well as skyrocket your electricity bill)
  • Use different poses to trigger different home appliances – stand in front of your wall and point up to turn on the TV, point to the left to switch on your charging ports and maybe even do a little dance in front of the wall to start playing your favorite music beats!
  • Answer the door while you are stuck in the shower! I’m sure all of us has experienced doing our business or taking bath in the toilet while someone is knocking on the door. It gets worse if we are expecting an important delivery from Lazada or Amazon! With Smart Walls, we could eventually just unlock our door directly for our family or the delivery man by just touching the nearest wall. Killing two birds with one touch!

Although the possibilities sound exciting, it will probably take another few years to integrate this technology into our lives and also solve the electricity consumption issue with it.

Will Smart Walls use a lot of electricity throughout the entire day? Can we turn the technology on and off as and when we like? How much might Smart Walls affect my electric bill?

While these are important questions the team at Carnegie Mellon have to answer, it is undeniable that once Smart Walls come into our homes, our lives will forever be changed and there is no going back to the plain old bare walls!

open electricity market

OEM: A World Of Benefits To The Consumer!

Before electricity deregulation, consumers only had one option when it came to getting their energy supply; the local utility, there wasn’t any other choice. While this made things relatively simple, it could foster a rather monopolistic marketplace. Bo swee right!

That’s why since 2001, Singapore’s Energy Market Authority has been deregulating the electricity market in phases starting with businesses and from April 2018, consumers can now choose between different electricity retailers for the best electricity plan in the market.

This liberalisation means retailers will be fighting hard for your business and we all get to enjoy cost savings on our electric bills!

Electricity Deregulation Is Happening Globally

While Singapore likes to be number 1 in everything (hint hint, Changi Airport), energy deregulation is nothing new and has been implemented in many countries from the USA to Australia. In fact, more than 35 countries have been deregulating their energy markets with the bulk of them being in the European Union.

Europe

Before energy deregulation of the entire continent, many parts of Europe were divided into different energy regions. While countries like the UK and Italy already had deregulated markets internally, some countries paid more, while others paid less. Not fair hor? Thankfully today, European customers can now choose their electricity supplier and generate individual supply agreements.

USA

It is quite interesting to note that not all parts of America are able to enjoy electricity deregulation. Some states such as Texas allow 85% of their residents to benefit from electricity deregulation, while the majority of other states are fully regulated markets.

Australia & New Zealand

Been down under or visited the land of the kiwis? You might be surprised to learn that Australia & New Zealand are 100% deregulated meaning all residential and commercial customers can get to choose their electricity supply from various providers in the open market.

In fact, thanks to the significant amount of competition present due to deregulation, Australia now boasts one of the most open and best run electricity markets in the world.

But you might be wondering, what has all these got to do with me ah?

I tell you, it has everything to do with you – it concerns you saving money on your electricity bill!

While electricity deregulation is still new to residential customers in Singapore, the main thing we should note are the incredible benefits that are now open to us.

The 5 Biggest Benefits Of Singapore’s Open Electricity Market
1. Save More Money Lor!

With more choices in your electricity retailers means more transparency in prices and electricity plans. With every retailer trying their best to get your business, there will be more plans created to suit different types of consumers.

  • Are you a night owl? – Check out the Peak & Off-Peak plans!
  • Do you want guaranteed savings no matter what? – The Discount Over Tariff (DOT) plan is for you!
  • Budgeting a key concern for you? – Fixed Price Plans might be your best choice!

No matter which plan you choose, it is likely you will be enjoying sweet discounts on your electric bill versus what you were paying before, when you were buying electricity directly from Singapore Power.

2. You Can Switch Without Interruption!

Deregulation only affects the supply of energy, not its distribution channels. That means you don’t need to install any new hardware or suffer any blackouts or periods without electricity.

It’s easy to switch. Just choose your new retailer and sit back and shake leg!

3. You Can Make A Conscious Decision & Go Green!

Are you an environmentalist or care greatly for the environment? Now you can do your part and make a conscious choice and opt for Green Energy. Deregulation allows retailers to give our customers green plans that help align with their priorities.

4. Enjoy Better Customer Service – People Will Now Pick Up The Phone!

Have you have tried calling in to check on your electric bill but left with a poor customer service experience? Not anymore!

As the competition heats up for your business, retailers will be doing their best in the customer service department; from helping you choose the best plan for your household to assisting you with any bill matters.

5. Rebates & Loyalty Programs

Yes, it can get even better!

With various rebates and loyalty programs, don’t be surprised if your retailer hooks you up with discounts, vouchers or even free movie tickets.

At iSwitch, we have partnered with various brands to bring you offers such as iPromo Plan with a complimentary iPad on top of the incredible savings on your electric bill and oh so awesome customer service of ours!

So if you haven’t switched to a new electricity retailer yet, it’s time to do so and start enjoying the benefits of Singapore’s Open Electricity Market.

Chiong ah!

Family

iSwitch launches into the Open Electricity Market in Jurong

iSwitch is proud to be one of the participating retailers approved by the Regulator, for the soft launch of the Open Electricity Market (OEM), launching today. We see the liberalisation of the OEM as a very exciting opportunity focusing on empowering customers to easily Switch and Save.

We have revamped our website (www.iswitch.com.sg) to enable customers to compare price plans and sign up effortlessly. Our customers will have access to online account management via our Portal and mobile App where they can easily compare their consumption with similar dwelling types, view and pay their bills and refer their friends. Customers can choose to pay their bills online via credit cards, internet banking, GIRO or simply visit the nearest AXS Kiosk station – whichever is more convenient for them. Customers will be able enjoy further savings through a Rewards Points Scheme by referring friends and family using their unique code. We have made the process of saving on energy fast and efficient!

We have designed a variety of cost effective price plans to suit customer’s usage patterns and lifestyle needs. We allow customers to choose from different options and discover which plan works best for them. Our iSwitch2Green plan caters to the environmentally responsible consumer, offering 100% carbon neutral electricity through the purchase of UN certified carbon credits. We also offer a Night-Time Discount from 11pm-7am, so consumers can enjoy the biggest savings when they use the most electricity.

We recognise the importance of partners to bring value to our customers. We are pleased to announce iSwitch has joined in collaboration with DBS Bank. This alliance, in time for the soft launch of the OEM in Jurong, will allow us to showcase our electricity price plans for the public in an online “Marketplace”. DBS/POSB account holders will be able to easily be able to choose a plan and set up their payment method in one seamless submission.

Jeremy Soo, DBS Head of Consumer Banking Group (Singapore) said, “DBS Electricity Marketplace exemplifies how we are reimagining banking, using digital technology and innovation to make life simpler for our customers. Through our partnerships with alternative electricity retailers, we want to enable our customers to enjoy savings on their bills easily. Our insights also indicate that consumers want a fuss-free process to sign up for other electricity retailers, and we have made it easier and convenient for them to make the switch with just a few simple clicks on DBS/POSB digibank.”

Please visit the DBS Marketplace to sign up.