May 3, 2010

Remote-Activated Appliances Being Tested In Canada

A Toronto-based wireless communications company has partnered with a pair of Canadian broadcast outlets to introduce a new radio-activated system that would allow energy providers to operate appliances and other devices from afar at the most cost-efficient time.

The partnership between e-Radio, Inc, CBC Radio and Radio-Canada utilizes smart grid technology to allow users to set a device, such as a dishwasher or washing machine, for activation. The appliance would then remain in standby mode until a remote sensor is activated by FM radio signals at the proper time, thus reducing both the customer's utility bill and harmful emissions.

The partnership was announced in January, and was the topic of a May 2 AFP report.

According to the company's original press release, "CBC/Radio-Canada's FM signals reach close to 99% of the Canadian population. Tapping into that infrastructure would mean that virtually every Canadian from coast-to-coast-to-coast could benefit from the technology. The transmission of data over FM frequencies has no effect on the quality of the radio signal."

"A highway can only carry so many cars per hour per lane. Similarly, our electrical generation and distribution system has a certain capacity and the peak capacity is like rush hour," Jackson Wang, president and chief executive of e-Radio, told the AFP's Gaelle Lussiaa-Berdou on Sunday. "When you have loaded up your grid with as much generation capability, if you have more demand than that, then you get into serious trouble."

The technology currently only works on newer, computer-chip using appliances, however. Officials from the company told Lussiaa-Berdou that old models will be unable to use the energy saving technology.

"Today, e-Radio Inc. performed the first successful live transmission from CBC Radio 2's 94.1 MHz frequency in Toronto to the ERI designed and manufactured FM RDS receiver module, triggering various load control devices," the company announced on January 8. "The groundbreaking test"¦ provides proof that radio can be adapted easily for the modern interactive digital age. 'Smart grid' applications based on this technology are ready to implement nation-wide now."


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