The problem of always on electronic appliances could soon become a thing of the past thanks to a simple device designed to turn off equipment at the wall using a remote control.
That is the vision of digital home specialist Domia, which today launched its new Bye Bye Stand-by gadget amidst claims that installing just three of the plug-in devices could save the average home £38 a year in electricity bills, while adopting the technology in the majority of households would equate to saving the energy produced by half a coal-fired power station.
The product features a plug socket, which is plugged into existing wall sockets, and a remote control that works using radio frequencies. Electrical appliances, including monitors, printers, DVD players and TVs, can then be plugged into the Bye Bye Stand-by socket allowing users to turn off an unused appliance or group of appliances at the socket with one click on the remote control.
Alternatively the remote control can be replaced by a wireless wall switch that can be located next to existing light switches. Olly Goffe, a spokesman for the company, said that the technology effectively moved the power switch from its often inconvenient position behind the TV or under the desk to a position by the door. "The aim is that as people leave a room and turn off the lights they can turn off everything else in the room that would be left on stand by," he said.
Goffe added that the product would be particularly useful in offices, where a lot of peripheral devices such as monitors and printers are left on stand by over night. "The printer will often be waiting to print at two in the morning while the coffee machine will also be ready to dispense hot water," he said. "People don't turn them off because it is often inconvenient to reach behind the equipment to the switch, but this allows the last person out of the office to turn everything off with one click of a button. It gets round the problem of our laziness, which means we often don't turn electrical equipment off at the plug."
The company said it was rolling out 450 of the devices in the offices of its PR company Weber Shandwick and insisted it provides a cost effective and easy to install solution to the problem of soaring energy consumption in many offices. It added that the radio frequency remote had also been thoroughly tested to ensure it does not disrupt other devices.
The company admitted the product is may prove less well suited to PCs, which need to be correctly shut down before the power is cut, while few people will want to use the device with their VCR and face the prospect of having to reset the clock every morning.
However, Goffe insisted that cutting the power would cause no damage to a wide range of other electrical products and added that Domia was also working on a more sophisticated PC software package that will compete with 1E's Nightwatchman automated PC management solution and provide firms with the ability to automatically shut down and turn off PCs that are left on at the end of the day.
A pack of three of the Bye Bye Stand-by devices – which retail at £29.99 – are now available from a range of online retailers and the company said that several large high street retailers are also likely to carry the product in the near future.
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