The smart grids are coming, and this elegantly designed box will be there to show you what an energy hog you've become. The box is called Vision, and it's made by Tendril, a hot startup that's developing its Tendril Residential Energy Management Ecosystem (TREE), a smart grid setup that lets you interact with your electric company and keep tabs on exactly how much energy you're using.
We're stoked about monitoring electrical usage in real time, because it raises awareness of energy expenditures. We've been testing the excellent TED 5000 system, and it uses Google PowerMeter to dutifully show us helpful graphs of our energy use by the minute, day, month and year.
Soon, all grids will be smart and such things will be commonplace. With this tech installed at home and at your power company, you'll know when power costs are at their lowest, and choose to run your energy-hungriest appliances during those off-peak times. Now if the utility companies would stop dragging their feet on smart grid tech (they don't want to help you save money), we could all benefit.
This Vision display is designed by IDEO, the same group that created some of the first Apple products, so of course we are inexplicably drawn to it whether it works or not. Just kidding. Tendril's not saying when this beauty will go on sale, but without power company support, it's all dressed up with no place to go.
Disclosure: Our big daddy parent company GE invested in Tendril, but since GE is about to eject NBC Universal into the hands of Kabletown®, we're not likely to be serving as shills for GE's ventures, so there's no need to worry.