Toshba’s Smart Home Features a Large New Market for Technology Metals

Previous reports on Tech Metals Insider highlighted the use of technology metals in the three areas that define our lifestyle today: our homes, our cars and our communication devices. But it doesn’t stop there; innovation cycles are increasing rapidly. “Future” becomes “today” at an increasing pace, and the three areas – home, car and communication – are blending into one another, creating yet another level of sustainable modern lifestyle.

Advances made in Germany and Japan, in particular, are contributing to this effect. Most notably, Honda and Toshiba have been working on “smart homes” that will leverage your home, your car and your smartphone or tablet into one interdependent system, increasing each part’s capabilities by combining it with the others.

Recently, Toshiba presented its first working “smart home” as part of the company’s “Toshiba Community” program. Toshiba, formerly known for consumer electronics, is just one of several large Japanese companies driving the country, and the world, towards a sustainable lifestyle, motivated at least in part by the island nation’s limited space and past experience with natural disasters.

The proliferation of this type of residential building, which we are likely to see within the next decade or two, is very good news for the technology metals sector. Rather than using energy produced elsewhere, all components to produce, store and manage power will be localized at each individual house. This, in turn, means exponential growth for battery materials, electronic processors and devices, sensors and LEDs. (Please follow the above links to see which metal is used where). The concept will also invite increased use of electric cars in urban areas where they can be charged at home “free of charge” from the building’s self-generated energy reserves. On top, an additional layer of electronic devices is required to coordinate the three areas.

The following video, produced by Toshiba, explains the new house and its applications. Note the amount of flat screens and electronic devices, LEDs etc shown:

Technology metals are enabling these developments. The appearance of forever more applications underlines their crucial role in our economies, and their potential for future growth.

By Bodo Albrecht