Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Internet's Brave New World in Our Lives

By Eric Jackson05/18/11 - 08:00 AM EDT

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- I spoke to NXP Semiconductor(NXPI_) CEO Rick Clemmer about a new announcement they made earlier this week, touting its "GreenChip" light bulbs. The announcement does paint an interesting picture for where the world is heading.

In a nutshell, NXP is putting its chips on light bulbs and partnering with another firm (GreenWave Reality) to help write applications which allow users to manage their energy consumption.

Effectively, every light bulb in your home or office will be able to report to you through a Web connection. According to Clemmer, this development will encourage 30% in energy savings right away, according to studies they've done, once users can see their usage and where they are wasting light bulb energy as heat instead of light.

They have also written an open-software stack that allows others like GreenWave to write applications to interface with this kind of application.

Besides just energy usage tied to the bulbs, GreenWave has developed power adapters and links to smart meters to better judge where energy is being wasted around the home of office to further drive conservation. These adapters track energy consumption at the outlet level.

Local and state governments are already moving to time-shifted energy pricing to try and better cap energy usage. This new technology should be seen as a further ally to them in that battle. Clemmer is hoping they will encourage the growth of the technology.

NXP's goal is to be the chip and middleground between the IP-connected objects and the platforms through which you interface with that data (likely Apple's(AAPL_) iOS andGoogle's(GOOG_) Android).

Most know NXP because of its near-field communication (NFC) chips. NFC will allow us to do secure payment transactions with a tap of our cell phones in the future. The NFC piece of the business is actually relatively small compared to what's making the company today with its chips. Clemmer told me that the lighting opportunity is actually a bigger one for NXP than NFC.

But it is interesting to see how these kinds of smart home applications are going to further drive mobile adoption in the future.


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