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The annual value of the smart appliance market will grow from $613 million in 2012 to $34.9 billion in 2020, finds a recent report from Pike Research, a part of Navigant's Energy Practice.

As utilities around the world deploy smart meters, smart appliances (which use an intelligent power management strategy to optimize the load on the power distribution grid) may have a significant role to play in realizing the vision of the smart grid. Currently, these appliances are limited in terms of availability and types of products, but the report says they will start to represent an increasing share of the total appliance market after 2015.

"The market for smart appliances has not developed as quickly as anticipated, due primarily to the fact that there are very few smart appliances commercially available," says senior research analyst Bob Lockhart. “In order for this market to flourish, there needs to be a wider selection of appliances by type, by brand and by price range. In addition, it will take time and education to bring smart appliance awareness and interest to the forefront of consumers’ minds.”

Smart plugs are one interim technology that could serve as a bridge to greater awareness of smart appliances, according to the report. These devices act as sensors for conventional appliances and electronic devices, enabling consumers to track electricity usage by the outlet. While the number of smart appliances remains low, and prices of available models remain high, the report says smart plugs may be able to provide consumers with a way to save money on energy bills while familiarizing themselves with smart household technology and its benefits.


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