Sharp is working with the Japanese government to develop a standard control protocol for home energy management systems that will work with electronics from any manufacturer. The company has been working on its own HEMS for a while now, and recently showed it off at the International Photovoltaic Power Generation Expo in Tokyo. The system uses a Wi-Fi module that plugs into an outlet, and transmits energy consumption info to a tablet or smartphone. You can also control certain aspects of your home (like dimming the lights) through the system, and Sharp plans to release a commercial version of the module in Japan later this year.
While home automation and energy management systems are not particularly new, with companies like Google and Motorola already working in the field, Sharp is hoping to create standard for the control protocols that they use. In the past, Sharp has utilized the ZigBee protocol in its Eco House in Sakai City, and now it says it's in discussions with the government about the "unification of control protocols." The company hopes that in one or two years Japanese consumers will be able to use a Sharp tablet to manage electronics from other manufacturers.