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Sears, GE Roll Out Smart-Appliance Platform

HOFFMAN ESTATES, ILL. — Sears has begun offering GE’s Brillion-branded energy-management platform in more than 100 Northeast stores, laying the groundwork for the marketplace debut of smart home appliances.

Sears is the first retailer to provide products and components for the proprietary wireless home network, which allows users to monitor energy consumption and control compatible appliances remotely.

When used with a smart meter featuring AMI (advanced metering infrastructure) and ZigBee wireless standards, and with power supplied by a smart-grid-ready utility, the platform also allows GE’s Brillion-enabled majaps to automatically delay certain energy-intensive functions until a later hour when electric rates are lower.

Sears kicked off the program with GE’s programmable thermostat and GeoSpring high-efficiency hybrid electric water heater, although smart washers, dryers, refrigerators and dishwashers are also in the pipeline.

The products come with a Brillion starter kit that includes an appliance communication module, which enables remote control of the majaps, and a Nucleus home manager, a wireless device that tracks home energy consumption and conveys the data to a PC or mobile device via email or text alerts.