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Smart plugs are the future of home technology

As digital developments become part of our daily lives, smart homes are no longer a thing of the future, but a reality of the present

By House & Garden South Africa | April 2, 2022 | Innovative

With the locally developed and manufactured Astute Smart Plug from CBI-electric: low voltage, everyone can have a smarter home.

The aim: to make life more convenient by having our homes working for us and around our schedules. Now, your day could start like this: As your alarm goes off at 6am, your bedside lamp turns on simultaneously. It’s winter, so your heater has been switched on an hour before you wake up, ensuring that it’s not too cold for venturing out of bed. Minutes later, you get a notification on your phone, informing you that the coffee machine has percolated. And these are just a few examples.

Although this sounds like a lot of technology, time and effort to install, all this can be done using one product – a smart plug. You can turn any appliance into a ‘smart’ appliance by replacing your standard 4x4 plugs with an Astute Smart Plug (ASP) from CBI-electric: low voltage.

These Wi-Fi-enabled plugs allow appliances to be controlled, monitored and scheduled remotely via an app on your smartphone and/or tablet. They can be easily installed by an electrician and don’t require additional wiring or hubs. Once fitted, they communicate with the app using your home’s internet connection. Even if the internet goes out, it can still do this using the Local Area Network which interconnects devices within a limited area such as a residence, school, or office building.

Photograph: Supplied by CBI

South Africans are becoming more energy efficient as the country’s carbon emissions are above the global average. In addition to automating your appliances, smart plugs help you to monitor your energy usage so you can control consumption. Smart plugs can help you keep an eye on the amount of power that electronic devices consume, even when they are on standby. This is vital seeing that standby power use is responsible for 2% of the total electricity consumption of developing countries like South Africa and 1% of their carbon emissions .

The highest standby power consuming devices are laptops, desktop computers, printers, scanners, TVs and phone chargers. By connecting these appliances to smart plugs, you can switch them off when not in use or schedule them to turn on when you know you’ll be using them. This way, you can conserve electricity without even thinking about it!

Photography: Supplied by CBI

You can also use smart plugs to protect your devices from voltage fluctuations caused by load shedding which can damage electrical components in plugged-in appliances. To mitigate this, users can set a minimum and maximum ‘safe operating voltage range’ for their smart plug via the app. If the voltage is not stable, the smart device will monitor the voltage levels and only allow power to the appliance once it is within a safe operating voltage range.

Go to cbi-lowvoltage.co.za for more information.

Photograph supplied by CBI Electric