Published 1 December 2015
Updated 1 December 2015

A new European standard for smart appliances called SAREF has been launched in a record time: less than a year! This standard has been developed by the European Commission in close cooperation with industry and ETSI, the European Telecommunications Standards Institute.

Following a broad consultation with stakeholders and addressing a clear market need, the European Commission financially supported a study to create a language (so-called 'reference ontology') for smart appliances, which has just become a new European standard.

Thanks to this new standard, we are closer to a future when somebody may say: "My new dishwasher just told my smart phone that it is plugged in and that it will consume 1 kWh if I keep it on its current programme. I'm thinking about switching to the ecological programme which uses 30% less energy. Thanks to this  great app, I have already saved €120 this year!"

The standard, called SAREF (Smart Appliances REFerence ontology), creates a new reference language for energy-related data. This new language will be used by the devices in the home (from lamps and consumer electronics to white goods like dishwashers) and will allow them to exchange information with any energy management system (which could physically be in the home or in the cloud).

When industry adopts this new standard on a large scale, the prices of the chips needed to communicate energy-related information will drop dramatically. The standard will bring the energy-efficient home closer to reality.  And once more information is available, it is up to our imagination to develop even smarter apps. What about simulating energy usage in a house still to be built? Helping to select domestic equipment from kitchen to heating and to lighting?

SAREF will enable demand-response to flourish, will bring energy and cost savings for building owners and users, and will open new markets.

Doesn’t this sound like Internet of Things becoming a reality?  Where our physical and virtual worlds will be merged into a new connected smart environment, which senses, analyses and adapts, making our lives easier and safer

And our intention is to deliver a lot more of this in Europe. We intend to build on converging standardisation work and on the development of open platforms on which technologies and solutions will co-exist and interact across application domains: our electric car should plug into our smart home environment to exchange energy consumption information and more!

In order to complete the digital single market, the European Commission has launched a public consultation on Standards. With this consultation, the Commission aims to gather views on priorities for standards. The Commission seeks input from Standards Development Organisations, companies, researchers, stakeholders' associations, public authorities and any interested party on areas including IoT, cloud, security, 5G, etc. The contributions to this consultation will serve to build an ICT Priority Standards Plan, as set out in the Digital Single Market Strategy presented by the Commission on 6 May.

Read more about SAREF and the ETSI standard. We will soon organise an event to showcase the standard and its possible applications. Why not run a hackathon to try out the standard?