Mitsubishi Electric to Launch Smart House Business

Aug 28, 2013
Tetsuo Nozawa, Nikkei Electronics
The Mitsubishi HEMS to be released in December 2013. The "energy measurement unit" (lower left), the "data collection unit" (lower middle) and a tablet device (lower right) that the user uses for controlling the system.
The Mitsubishi HEMS to be released in December 2013. The "energy measurement unit" (lower left), the "data collection unit" (lower middle) and a tablet device (lower right) that the user uses for controlling the system.
[Click to enlarge image]
The screen of the tablet device
The screen of the tablet device
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The latest prototype of the "PV EV Linkage HEMS" power conditioner. It is equipped with a lead battery as a backup power source.
The latest prototype of the "PV EV Linkage HEMS" power conditioner. It is equipped with a lead battery as a backup power source.
[Click to enlarge image]

Mitsubishi Electric Corp announced Aug 26, 2013, that it will start a smart house business in earnest.

This time, the company will commercialize the results of a field test that it has been conducting at the "Ofuna Smart House," which is located in Kamakura City, Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan.

Mitsubishi Electric will launch the new business in more than three steps. Specifically, in the first step, the company will release the "Mitsubishi HEMS" in December 2013. When a desired power-saving goal is set for reducing the total amount of power consumed by various home appliances such as air-conditioner, refrigerator, IH (induction heating) cooker, "EcoCute" hot-water supply system, which uses nighttime power, etc, the Mitsubishi HEMS automatically controls the power consumption of each appliance.

"While the HEMSes released by other companies realize only visualization or the reduction of the total power consumption of each household, our HEMS can control all the devices connected to it," Mitsubishi Electric said.

The Mitsubishi HEMS consists of (1) the "energy measurement unit," which is installed near the distribution board for power control, (2) "data collection unit," which has wireless LAN capability, (3) home appliances that support the Mitsubishi HEMS, (4) wireless LAN adapters for the appliances, etc. The manufacturer's suggested retail price of the energy measurement unit and data collection unit combined is ¥189,000 (approx US$1,947).

As home appliances supporting the Mitsubishi HEMS, Mitsubishi Electric has already released one product of the "Airflow Circulation System" and two LCD TVs. Also, it plans to release four refrigerators in or after September 2013, 58 EcoCute products and one IH cooker in October 2013 and 11 air conditioners and one hot-water heating system using heat pump technology in November 2013.

In the second step, Mitsubishi Electric will release the "PV·EV Linkage HEMS" power conditioner, which enables to combine photovoltaic (PV) power generation and electric vehicle (EV), within fiscal 2014. The company has been testing it in the Ofuna Smart House.

"We acquired enough confidence that it is possible to realize an energy-independent residential house," it said.

In the third step, Mitsubishi Electric will launch the "Next-generation Air-conditioning System" within fiscal 2014. Combined with the HEMS, it realizes a "temperature barrier-free" environment by reducing temperature difference in a house. It enables to prevent accidents caused by temperature difference, the company said.

In the fourth step, Mitsubishi Electric plans to offer various systems designed for preventing crimes, monitoring the elderly, etc in or after fiscal 2015.

Mitsubishi Electric expects a sales increase of ¥2.5 billion in fiscal 2013, ¥16 billion in fiscal 2014 and ¥30 billion in fiscal 2015. The ¥30 billion is accounted for by all-electric products (¥10 billion), ventilation and air-conditioning systems (¥8 billion) and energy-related devices (¥12 billion), the company said.