With the continuous progress of science and technology, people’s lives are constantly developing in the direction of intelligence. Technology has penetrated into every aspect of people’s lives, making their lives more convenient and comfortable. Nowadays, smart home has become the trend of the times, and many families have gradually used smart home products. Some families already have traditional household appliances, and the products produced by many household appliance companies are not smart enough. Many manufacturers have launched smart sockets to solve these problems. The intelligent socket can control the power on and power off through remote control, control the time and duration of power on, prevent short circuits, overload and leakage, and can well solve the intelligent transformation problems of some traditional electrical appliances. The intelligent socket is the product of the transition period of people’s lives towards intellectualization. When all electrical equipment comes with intelligent controls, it will gradually withdraw from the market. But this day is still a long time coming, which depends on the development speed of human society, maybe 30 years, maybe forever.
Definition of Smart Socket
The smart socket refers to the traditional socket that can be connected and controlled with mobile phones or other smart terminals by installing some smart modules. The concept of the smart socket appeared very early. At first, it was to realize the functions of energy saving and protecting electrical appliances, but it was not popularized due to technical reasons. With the development of WiFi, Bluetooth and other technologies, it is possible to connect and disconnect the circuit through remote control, and the smart socket is gradually accepted and used by more people.
Compared with the traditional socket, the smart socket is more secure. The chip embedded in the smart socket can achieve a variety of functions. The smart IC chip can monitor the current changes of the electrical appliances connected to the socket. If the current is suddenly too high, it will trigger the power-off protection of the smart socket, so as to protect the electrical appliances from burning out due to the excessive current. The monitoring of current by smart sockets can also make us more aware of the power consumption of different household appliances. We can adjust the use of various appliances according to the actual situation and eliminate high power consuming appliances, which can effectively reduce our power consumption and expenses. Some smart sockets also add lightning protection, high voltage protection, short circuit protection and overload protection functions, which can effectively protect our electrical appliances. With the further development of technology, smart sockets have been added more functions and can be used in more scenarios.
Basic Types and Development of Smart Socket
In the past, popular smart sockets in the market include metering sockets, timing sockets, remote control sockets, etc. These smart sockets can solve some functions, but there are some defects. The metering socket can intuitively reflect the current, voltage, power and other parameters of the electrical appliance. It is not enough to only let users know the various parameters of the electrical appliance in operation. Most users do not have relevant professional knowledge and cannot understand whether the electrical appliance consumes electricity normally and operates normally, which makes users unable to stop the abnormal work of the electrical appliance in time, to avoid the waste of electricity, and to protect the electrical appliance in time. The timing socket can control the socket to work at a specific time, which reduces the waste of electric energy in the idle time of electrical appliances to a certain extent. However, the use time of most electrical appliances is not fixed. Once the situation changes, the previous settings of the timing socket are basically invalid, and it is very inconvenient to reset them. The remote control socket needs to be equipped with a special remote control, which increases the cost of users, and sometimes the remote control appears to be redundant and troublesome to use, which is difficult to be accepted by users. Moreover, these sockets can’t judge whether the electrical load is overloaded, and can’t bring protection to electrical appliances, so they are gradually eliminated by the market.
More smart sockets are also developing rapidly. Due to the rapid development of technology, the industry has not given these sockets clear standards and definitions. Smart sockets in the market can be classified as follows:
Programmable (PLC) Automatic Control Socket
Programmable automatic control socket has the following advantages:
- The PLC automatic control socket can adjust the power on and off of the controlled electrical appliances according to the needs, which can effectively reduce the power consumption of electrical appliances duringnon-working hours and realize zero power standby.
- The PLC automatic control socket is equipped with programmable setting resources of 8 on and 8 off. The operation mode of 7 keys is adopted, and the control cycle in the unit of day or week can be designed.
- The energy consumption of the PLC automatic control socket is relatively low, and the technology and scheme of high efficiency and energy saving are adopted. The standby power consumption and working power consumption are less than 20MW.
- The PLC automatic control socket adopts a special safety jack, which can effectively reduce the potential safety hazards caused by accidental touch bychildren and the elderly.
- The PLC automatic control socket is equipped with a rechargeable battery to maintain the operation of the clock. When the user changes the socket to a use area, the timing program will not be lost due to power failure.
- All setting procedures can be cleared or factory settings can be restored.
- It can be widely used with lights, water dispensers, air conditioners, refrigerators, televisions, computers and other electrical equipment. It can be used at home or in the office.
Multiple Circuit Protection Socket
Multiple circuit protection socket is designed for circuit safety. This socket fully takes into account all kinds of situations encountered in the use of electrical appliances in the design, and will make corresponding protection measures for these situations, so as to protect electrical appliances.
Lightning protection and sudden high voltage prevention: the multiple circuit protection socket can limit the output voltage to less than 500V, and the multiple circuit protection socket can withstand high current without burning out, and the maximum current passing through can exceed 20KA.
Abnormal alarm: the multi-circuit protection socket monitors the current passing through the whole process. If the current is abnormal, its LED will flash for a long time to prompt the user that the current is abnormal.
Anti overload: the multi-circuit protection socket has the maximum through current. When the current is greater than this value, it will alarm or turn off, which can protect the electrical appliances to the greatest extent.
Filter protection: the multiple circuit protection socket can filter out the AC with abnormal frequency and ensure the frequency stability of its output current, which greatly increases the stability of electrical appliances.
Standby Energy-saving Socket
The standby energy-saving socket is designed to reduce the power loss caused by various electrical equipment in the standby process. In life, we are used to putting many electrical appliances in standby mode instead of shutdown mode. Electrical appliances in standby mode will also consume electric energy, which causes a certain waste of electric energy. The standby energy-saving socket can monitor the passage of current to judge the working state of the appliance. When it is judged that the appliance is in the standby state, and it does not work after the set time, the standby energy-saving socket will turn off the power supply, reducing the standby power consumption of the appliance to 0, which also avoids the potential safety hazards caused by the long-time power on of the appliance. The standby energy-saving socket has the characteristics of energy saving and safety.
Basic Structure of Smart Socket
The general smart socket consists of a physical key module, which is responsible for physically directly controlling the socket switch, redistributing the network and other functions; Smart modules such as WiFi/Bluetooth will have MCU chips and memory chips inside, which are responsible for connecting routers and remote servers, so that mobile phones can control sockets; The relay module is responsible for controlling the 220V high-voltage on-off part. The maximum current 10A and 16A seen on the smart socket generally refers to the maximum current allowed by the relay module.
Take out an ordinary version of the smart socket and disassemble it. You can see that the physical key module (the red box in the picture) uses an ordinary electric key switch, the WiFi module (the green box in the picture) uses Lexin’s ESP chip solution, and the relay (the blue-purple box in the picture) uses Hongfa’s HF32F-G relay, with a maximum current of 10A.
Principle of Remote Control of Smart Socket
First of all, to realize remote control of the smart socket, you need to connect the smart socket to Xiaomi’s server first, which is why there are steps in the specialized app to scan devices, add devices, and configure WiFi, Bluetooth and other information.
When the smart socket is connected to the server, the mobile phone will also connect to the server when it opens the app. Clicking the on switch on the app will send a command to the server, and the server will forward the message to the smart socket. After receiving the command, the smart socket will analyze the meaning of the command, and then open the socket to complete one control.
Therefore, every product connected to the ecosystem should have a unique identification code, otherwise the server cannot distinguish which product and device the user is specifically controlling. For example, we can learn from the MOKO IoT developer platform that each product has its own PID, which is the unique code of each device.
Why is Smart Socket So Popular
The smart socket can be used when we forget to turn off the appliance when we go out, or when we need to turn on the appliance remotely. For example, if we forget to turn off the water heater when we go out, we can operate on the mobile app, and then turn off the power of the water heater socket at home remotely through the network. Similarly, we can turn on the water heater remotely, provided that the switch of the water heater is turned on in advance, and the on and off switch of the water heater can be controlled by controlling the power-on and power-off. Or remotely control electric cookers, electric kettles and other electrical appliances.
In addition to remote opening, it can also set timing opening, delayed opening, circuit overload protection, power failure after charging, etc. There are also some smart sockets that can do power consumption statistics, which is convenient for us to do energy-saving operations. The smart socket set in the kitchen or gas stove can detect the concentration of flammable gas and send an alarm.
Of course, many home appliances now also have the intelligent function of remote control and switching appliances. However, compared with the remote control of our home appliances, the smart socket directly cuts off the power supply to ensure that no electricity enters the appliance, and the control of on-off is more thorough, so there will be no standby power consumption of appliances.
It is mainly convenient to use and can perfectly realize the intelligent control of the socket. Combined with the intelligent control of the lamp switch, it can realize the intelligent control of the electrical appliances in the whole house. It can not only control the socket on and off with the mobile phone, but also intelligently turn off the electrical appliances through voice. For example, when we sleep in bed and find that the TV in the living room is not turned off, or the water heater in the bathroom is not turned off, we can turn it off by voice control. Moreover, the price of smart sockets is low. Compared with the purchase of electrical appliances with intelligent voice control, it is more convenient to buy smart sockets, with lower cost and easy installation. They can also be carried around and easily moved to the applicable area.
Introduction to Usage Scenarios
What is the use of smart sockets? Sometimes, you just lack an introduction to discover the use of smart sockets. Here are some usage scenarios for reference.
1) Suppose the apartment you live in has a water heater. In order to keep the first time you can wash with hot water when you go home, you often turn on the water heater 24 hours a day, which will be a waste of electricity. If you use a smart socket, set the opening time of the water heater before work and the closing time before going to bed, which can greatly reduce the working power loss and standby loss of the water heater. It is roughly estimated that the electricity saved in a month can buy a smart socket. The earlier you use smart sockets, the more electricity you save and the lower the average cost.
2) At night in summer, mosquitoes often like to haunt. Now many families do not use traditional mosquito repellent incense, but use electric mosquito repellent incense liquid or electric mosquito repellent incense sheet. Although the use cycle of electric mosquito repellent incense liquid and electric mosquito repellent incense sheet is relatively long, if we use it for 24 hours and do not disconnect the power supply in time, it is difficult for them to persist for a long time, and long-term contact with the power supply is easy to accumulate heat in electrical appliances and cause fires. Plug the electric mosquito repellent incense liquid or electric mosquito repellent incense sheet into the smart socket to set the disconnection and shutdown time of the power supply. Even if you forget to turn off the power supply when you go out, you can turn it off remotely.
3) If you have fish at home, if it is very inconvenient to go on business or travel, it is easy for the fish to die because of lack of food and oxygen. If the oxygenation equipment, lighting equipment and feeding equipment are connected to the smart socket, we can set the timed oxygenation and timed feeding, and these functions can also be achieved through remote control.
4) If there is a very beautiful desk lamp, but the socket used by this desk lamp is not at the bedside, it is very inconvenient to use it for a long time, and the desk lamp will appear very redundant. If we connect the desk lamp to the smart socket, we can control the lighting of the desk lamp through the mobile phone or voice assistant, which is very convenient for a long time.
5) Now the weather is getting hotter and hotter. Many families and apartments are equipped with air conditioners. The power consumption of air conditioners is relatively large, so we’d better not turn on the air conditioners for a long time, which will cause our electricity bills to soar. If the air conditioner is installed on the smart socket, we can turn it on and off regularly, which can reduce the consumption of electric energy while ensuring a low temperature in the house. When sleeping at night, the temperature in the second half of the night is relatively low. You can turn off the air conditioner in the second half of the night to reduce the loss of electric energy. If you forget to turn off the air conditioner when you go out, you can also turn off the air conditioner remotely.
6) If we want to travel for a long time, but we are worried that there is no one at home, which will be targeted by thieves, it is easy to cause great economic losses to us. If we connect some lights and TVs in our home to the smart socket, we can turn on the lights and TVs in our home regularly or remotely every night, so that thieves will think that there is someone in our family and give up, which can effectively protect our property.
Smart Socket Selection Guide and Precautions
We must pay attention to the selection of smart sockets. If we don’t select a suitable smart socket, it will not solve some problems in our life, but will cause many unnecessary troubles, such as the chaos of timers and controllers. The selection of smart sockets depends not only on the hardware of smart sockets, but also on the control software of relevant brands. Here are the precautions for software and hardware when we buy smart sockets:
- The networking function is essential. Only with networking, the user can remotely control the switch of the smart socket; infrared remote control devices are needed, because many home appliances don’t start to work by themselves when they are powered on, such as air conditioners. We need to use the remote control to control the switch of the product. At this time, the smart socket with infrared control function can assume the function of the remote control and directly realize the switch function of the air conditioner.
- The connection with the app should be simple and smooth. Now we often pay more attention to the sense of operation experience of products, especially whether the connection between client products, smart sockets and the app, or between smart sockets and household appliances that need to be controlled is simple or not.
- It also needs to have a stable working state. Its working state needs to be very stable. It can’t be powered off or disconnected frequently, and it can’t be completely disobedient when we need to use it.
If you want to choose a smart socket that suits your needs, you need to know the hardware of some related products.
- 16A or 10A
First of all, you need to determine what appliances you need to control. High power appliances are 16A, such as water heaters and air conditioners. Their 16A plugs are one size larger than 10A; Common low-power electrical appliances are 10A, such as small kitchen treasures, water dispensers, fish tanks, lights, chargers and so on. After confirmation, you also need to choose the corresponding 10A or 16A smart socket, otherwise it cannot be plugged in.
- Control air conditioner
If you want to control the air conditioner, you need to choose a smart socket with infrared control, so that it can remotely control your air conditioner like your home remote control.
- Form linkage
If you want to achieve a simple home linkage, so that people can cut off the power when they walk, turn on the power when they return, or link with other smart home products, you need to choose smart sockets of the same brand or support the same protocol. For example, if you buy a Xiaomi socket, and you have other Mijia products, they can form linkage, because they support the same communication protocol, so you can control them in an app.
- Pay attention to the width
If you want to add a smart socket on a plug row full of sockets, you’d better choose a smart socket with a width of less than 44mm, otherwise it may affect the use of adjacent plugs.
- Sharing function
If you want your family to control the smart socket, you need to choose the socket with sharing function.
- Energy management
If you want to know how much power your water heater or air conditioner consumes, you need to choose a socket with energy management.
Market Prospect of Smart Socket
In 2021, the global market for smart sockets still maintained strong growth, with annual shipments of 8.5 million and a market size of US $217.8 million. According to industry estimates, the growth momentum of the smart socket industry will remain strong from 2022 to 2030, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 32%. By 2030, the market size will be about $2.7 billion, and the shipment volume can reach 104million units. Various home appliance manufacturers have launched their own smart home products, and software companies have also launched various smart home systems. MOKO has also actively joined the intelligent industry and has launched more than a dozen smart socket devices, which has promoted the development of the industry and the rapid development of the smart socket market.
Due to the increasing penetration of smart phones into life, many devices are becoming more and more intelligent. The development of the Internet of things (IOT) also promotes this process. The market share of smart devices is getting higher and higher, and many traditional manufacturing industries have also entered the smart device industry. The participation of more enterprises has greatly reduced the manufacturing cost of intelligent devices. In recent years, more and more enterprises have launched their own smart sockets. With more and more advanced technology and lower prices, more and more people begin to use smart sockets.
The concept of the Internet of things has been recognized by most consumers. The concept of smart life has been deeply rooted in the hearts of the people. People are more and more inclined to buy intelligent devices, which will greatly promote the rapid development of smart sockets. Many families in the market use traditional electrical equipment, but they also want to experience smart life. At this time, buying smart sockets is the best choice. The market of smart sockets is still large, with broad application scenarios, and now it is still in the growth period of the market.
In 2022, due to the war between Russia and Ukraine, energy prices soared in the market, and inflation was serious. Businesses and households were under great pressure. Energy conservation became very important, which could save a lot of expenses. Smart sockets can control the power on and off of the switch, read the power consumption of electrical appliances, prevent electrical overload, and switch electrical appliances regularly, which can undoubtedly greatly reduce the waste of electricity and reduce the expenditure of electricity charges. These characteristics of the smart socket also make it quickly occupy the market in this energy crisis.
For a long time in the future, before the emergence of disruptive technologies, we can see that the market for smart sockets will become larger and larger, and the development prospect is very good.