DSU, East River Electric Power Cooperative begins research project

MADISON, S.D. (KSFY) - Dakota State University in Madison is staking another claim in the arena of technological research.

The school is partnering with East River Electric Power Cooperative in an effort to make the smart appliances of today and tomorrow - more energy efficient.

Chris Studer is with East River Electric Power Cooperative and for the next year his organization will be part of a research partnership with DSU to better understand the rapidly changing technology going into people's homes.

"We know that consumers are buying smart products, connected devices, from wi-fi thermostats to connected refrigerators, lighting, all sorts of different products," Studer said.

What East River Electric Power Cooperative wants to know is if there is a way to make all those things more efficient, to not only make sure they work but that they do so in such a way that saves people as much money as possible. But saving as much energy as possible.

"Technology now permeates every part of American society and American life and that's exciting for us cause that gives us a manner of opportunities to partner with organizations that need research," said Pete Hoesing, Dakota State University.

Hoesing says this model home research lab will be located in the school's new Madison Cyber Labs or MadLabs for short.

"The jobs that our students will work in 10-20 years, don't exist yet," Hoesing added.

In addition to smart appliance efficiency, there is also a security component that will be looked into as well - because devices that make lives easier could also invite trouble.

"Some of these smart home devices, you know, if people hack into a smart lock in your home, they can get into your house," Studer said.

This research project will be underway for the next year at DSU. School officials said much of the work will be done through digital simulation.