Saving energy at a touch of a phone screen

People will be able to reduce energy consumption in their homes with just the touch of a screen on their smartphones in the future.

Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD) professors are working on an Energy Smart Monitoring and Control system as part of their "Smart Home" project. The system uses the Smart Grid technology, which gathers information on the generation, distribution and consumption of energy to efficiently deliver sustainable, economic and secure electric supplies.

Speaking with The Brunei Times, Dr Chandratilak De Silva Liyanage, an associate professor from the Faculty of Science (FoS), explained the Energy Smart Monitoring and Control system allows users to use a smartphone application to detect any unneeded running electrical appliance in their homes and switch them off using their phones or tablet.

In the Smart Home project, he said, sensors are used to detect any running electric appliance and to reduce energy consumption in the house.

"When we leave the room we usually leave the air-conditioner on or like children come down to have dinner and they leave the air-conditioner running. We devised a system that they can see in their iPad or iPhone, or other phones...they find out whether an air-conditioner is running in the room, they can even switch off the lights through the phone," he said.

Liyange added that researchers at the UBD-IBM Centre are currently developing the application. Details on the system could not be revealed as they are filing for an international patent to gain copyright for the application.

Dr Sathyajith Mathew, also an associate professor in FoS, said the application is devised to meet the needs of the government and the nation to create sustainable alternatives to energy efficiency.

"We are defining our research areas based on the ministries' needs. So we are in very close relationship with the ministries," he told The Brunei Times.

"We have frequent discussions ... to know what they want and what we can do ... and getting support from them in deciding the topics (and) the direction of the research centre because practically it will be utilised by the nation."

The prototype of the system has been shown to His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam when he visited the UBD-IBM Centre mid-October this year, Liyanage said. A proposal of the concept has been submitted to the Energy Department, he added.