Watteco, a French System on Chip (SoC) manufacturer of "no new wire" Power Line Communication (PLC) modems for energy efficiency and intelligent home control applications, today launched one of the first home energy command and control modules to support the development of a two-way, end-to-end communications fabric for the world's electricity system based on Internet Protocol (IP) standards. The company has begun shipping a version of its Watt Pulse Communications (WPC™) PLC product, the WPC-IP that supports the IPv6 Over Low Power Wireless Personal Area Networks (6LoWPAN) protocol for home energy management, smart plug, smart metering and other smart grid applications.
Watteco will demonstrate its new WPC-IP module in Cisco's booth at the Platt European Smart Grid Strategies Conference, Sept. 17- 18, in Berlin, Germany. Watteco is a member of the Cisco Smart Grid Ecosystem, which is designed to facilitate the adoption of IP-based communications standards for smart grids that will benefit the energy industry, as well as business and residential customers.
The WPC-IP module is directly installed on existing indoor/outdoor electricity wire. It delivers a low-cost, compact, extremely robust solution for developing home command-and-control networks that use IP-based, industry-standard protocols to manage and streamline energy usage while enhancing home comfort and security. The latest version of Watteco's WPC module enables IPv6 packets to be carried in the Smart Grid.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy (DoE) in its publication entitled, "The Smart Grid: An Introduction," a less centralized, more consumer-interactive two-way smart grid is expected to ease congestion and increase utilization (of full capacity), sending 50 percent to 300 percent more electricity through existing corridors. Another DoE study projects energy savings of 5 percent to 15 percent from smart grid. The DoE has said that a grid efficiency improvement of even 5 percent will equate to permanently eliminating the fuel and greenhouse gas emissions from 53 million cars.
"We are pleased to be working with Cisco and other partners and customers to help realize the industry's vision of intelligent and resilient end-to-end management of power supply and demand," said Eric Berthaud, chairman, Watteco SAS. The WPC module will help the industry realize what companies like Cisco have described as a complete electricity system communications fabric -- from electrical generation to business and the home -- based on IP standards. The goal is for any device to be able to talk to any other device at any location -- in the home, at the meter, at the substation, or in the grid."
Watteco's WPC-IP module supports all key IEEE 802.15.4 radio protocol stacks, is easy to integrate and delivers a low bill of materials cost. It provides a direct bridge between PLC technologies and any radio frequency (RF) technologies including ZigBee™ or 802.15.4 stack, as well as lower-layer protocols. It operates at 10 kbits/s bi-directional PLC data rates, while consuming less than 10mW of power (100 times less than alternative PLC technologies), and it occupies less than 2.5cm² of board space. Integrating the WPC-IP device into Command and Control Smart Energy systems improves compatibility with other open standards, facilitates integration with 6LoWPAN and other IP networks, and increases coverage as compared to alternative solutions that don't support the same breadth of industry-standard wired and wireless networking protocols.
According to ABI Research, industry-standard, IP-based IEEE 802.15.4 technology is set to underpin a new generation of consumer electronics remote control solutions. Additionally, Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) trials, U.S. investment initiatives, and a growing interest in smart energy and utility management herald a move towards full-scale smart energy solution rollouts using the technology.
"ABI Research believes that the rapid injection of capital to be provided by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act will solidify and encourage more investment in smart metering and the smart grid," said senior analyst Sam Lucero.