What do Smart Homes running off a Smart Energy Grid need to be complete? Why, Smart Plugs, of course!
The energy conservationists at Zerofootprint are adding IQ points to each outlet in the home with their new carbon emission-reducing socket supplements, called "TalkingPlugs™." Designed to fit right on top of an existing outlet, each TalkingPlug™ comes equipped with technology that enables control of a plugged-in appliance across a network as well as real-time measuring of energy consumption. You know how the "Stand-by" mode of every plugged in appliance or electronic device consumes electricity even when said device is turned off? The TalkingPlug™ can be programmed to cut power to the device during certain hours (sleepy time) to conserve electricity.
Widespread installation of TalkingPlugs™ across neighborhoods, municipalities and even the country will result in a sort of mesh network -- information gathered from each home can be sent to Zerofootprint and individual homes can check in to see how their energy usage compares to others.
The current $50/plug price is a little prohibitive. I want to conserve, but I also want to have enough money to actually pay the electricity bill (lower though it may be). I'm not sure if I'm sold on the name, either. I envision cartoonish plastic wall pods from some animated kids' movie fighting for the attention of the human characters. "Plug ME!" "No, plug ME!" Lower the price, change the name, and I'm as game as the next guy.