Why should electricians care about the Consumer Electronics Show (CES)? The CES is an annual industry-only trade show, run by the Consumer Technology Association (CTA). It’s the place where the greatest names in tech showcase or debut new products. Have you heard any of these terms recently: ‘smart home’, ‘EV chargers’, ‘digital health’, or ‘blockchain’? Or perhaps you’re familiar with smart lighting, drones, AR/VR, and Esports.
You guessed it, many of these items require electricity – sometimes a lot of electricity. As electricians, we install the electrical systems that support these new technologies and products. I am unaware of any CES coverage that focuses on us electricians, so with that said, here is the inaugural CES: Electrician’s Edition!
There are five products/services/technologies that I think would be of interest to electricians. They include GAF solar roof shingles, Eaton’s EV circuit breaker, Moen’s touchless kitchen faucet, indoor gardens/vertical farming, and Samsung’s RF remote control (uses no batteries).
GAF Solar Roof Shingles:
Seeing these in person, they are slightly longer than regular roof shingles. But make no mistake – they look like roof shingles, and they can be installed by a roofer with a staple gun. So if you were thinking of becoming a solar installer, think again. GAF is one of the largest roofing manufacturers in the United States; they wanted to develop a solar shingle that a roofer could install easily, and this product fits the bill. Roofers install the shingles, while us electricians stay on the ground and wire the system to the existing electrical infrastructure. Win-win for both trades!
Eaton’s EV Charger Circuit Breaker:
On that same note, if you have been installing EV chargers, you may have run into some serious headaches. Aside from expensive EVSE units that require excessive permitting and more space in the garage or parking lot, many of the manufacturers of EV chargers have been unknown to us electricians up to now. Not anymore! Eaton has entered the EV charger market with a game-changer: their acquisition of Atom Power’s PURPL. The PURPL is the first UL-listed EV circuit breaker, which makes it a lot easier to install and manage multiple EV charging stations. The stations don’t require lots of space for bulky boxes – they are just cords with EV plugs at the end. Look for Eaton to release these by the end of the year.
Moen’s Touchless Faucet:
There’s a lot of new tech surrounding automatically detecting water leaks, and touchless faucets. In particular, Moen showcased its Smart Faucet, a touchless faucet for the kitchen. Right now it comes with a battery and an ac adaptor. Look for manufacturers to start making more touchless faucets in the near future. For us, this means having GFCI protection installed under those kitchen sinks. No exceptions!
Indoor Gardens/ Vertical Farming:
Indoor gardening, also known as vertical farming, is taking off right now in 2022. It’s as easy as LED lights and a bit of water, and you have created lettuce and herbs and soon… tomatoes! Right now, most residential units just plug into a 15A/20A, and are ready to play. Take for instance LG’s tiiun Indoor Garden Appliance, which has water lines and an inverter/compressor. NEC 2020 requires GFCI where water is present, though, so prepare for GFCI installations in the living room.
Samsung’s RF Remote Control:
Last but not least, the most interesting tech to me was a small design: Samsung’s Eco Remote. This RF remote control for TVs is powered by solar and RF harvesting technology. It opens the door for more sensors that use RF harvesting technology to be installed in homes in the future.
Honorable mention: MATTER
Matter is a new smart home communication protocol that is trying to become standard. This standard would help with home automation and works with Alexa, Google, Apple, Zigbee and over 170 other manufacturers.
There was more technology that was exhibited at CES that was truly interesting and cool. If you want to learn more, check out CNET’s coverage of CES and The Verge’s CES coverage. Or just google CES 2022. Happy Tech learning!