Due to the tragedic accident of the Fukushima nuclear power plant that was caused by the massive earthquake on March 11, Eastern Japan and the Tokyo Metropolitan Area are still afraid of unpredictable and large-scale blackouts. In town, or at railway stations, we see many digital signboards that shows us a real-time statistics of power consumption (data provided by power companies) for encouraging power saving. A hot season will come next month, to save energy and avoid possible blackouts, we will be severely required to refrain from turning air conditioners on unlike the past summer.
Many companies have announced countermeasures including switching their power source to solar systems, extending summer vacations, deploying daylight saving time, time-shifed working etc. What about households? We also experienced the energy crisis about 35 years ago, which has contributed a lot to improving the fuel efficiency of Japan-made automobiles. The power shortage that we are currently facing may also work positively to make our technologies and lifestyles much better.
Sassor, a Kanagawa-based tech start-ups specializing in interactive and service design, just announced their first product for encouraging reasonable power use and started accepting orders for it this week. That is named ELP lite[J], the first entry version of the Energy Literacy Platform, and shows you how much each of your home appliances are consuming power on a web-based interface. The service is a combination of a receiver that is set up between an appliance and a powerpoint to deliver measured consumption data to a server, an easy-to-see website that shows you a realtime statistics, and a smartphone app that allows you to check it out at anytime anywhere.
The company has planned to introduce it later this year, but advanced the schedule to serve our society better by providing solutions on time. Starting at 19,500 yen, their pricing varies on which type of the service you choose by considering how many convenient features are additionally provided.
Sassor was founded in September 2010 by two young men graduated from Keio University, Shuichi Ishibashi[J] and Takayuki Miyauchi[J]. They got mentoring at Open Network Lab[J], the Tokyo version of Y-combinator-like incubator, and fundraised several million yen (exact number not disclosed) from Samurai Incubate Fund.