Grid Smarts

5/29/2012

Someday soon, smart energy solutions will be the norm rather than the exception. M2M (machine-to-machine) technology is enabling realtime energy monitoring and data collection from connected devices such as smart meters and other connected-home solutions, helping to manage energy use and ultimately make the smart grid—and our day-to-day lives—smarter.

Big consumer-electronics companies are jumping on the eco bandwagon, proving the interest in green, energy-efficient solutions is already here. One major electronics manufacturer, Panasonic, www.panasonic.com, has even announced the launch of a new arm of its business—the Panasonic Eco Solutions North America—which will focus on the design, implementation, and financing of renewable and energy-efficient projects in the U.S. and Canada. 

Companies such as U.K.-based appliance manufacturer AGA, www.agaliving.com, have created connected appliances that will give consumers more control over how and when their electronics are used. AGA’s new iTotal Control, for instance, is an electric range you can operate remotely via smartphone, laptop, or tablet.


Other devices are devoted to providing energy-use data to consumers and businesses, such as the line of smart meters from Metrum Technologies, www.metrum.us, which relies on wireless connectivity from Sprint, www.sprint.com. The two companies recently announced a partnership along with a third company, Tollgrade Communications, www.tollgrade.com, which will offer connected medium-voltage sensors this summer.

The Tollgrade sensors will help improve the efficiency of distribution, providing load monitoring and power-quality information to utilities in both urban and rural areas. The companies say the ultimate goal of the partnership is to provide wireless services that enhance grid reliability, optimize service delivery, and improve efficiency.

Another company, industrial-automation manufacturer Opto 22, www.opto22.com, has come out with the OptoEMU Sensor DR, a demand-response energy-monitoring unit that keeps track of realtime energy consumption at facilities like factories, warehouses, retailers, and office buildings.

The device not only monitors realtime power usage, it manages electrical loads on demand and delivers this mission-critical data to backend systems for monitoring and analysis. By helping business owners and facility managers identify energy use, the technology helps reduce energy costs—the same benefit consumers can experience when adopting similar solutions in their homes.

On Tuesday, June 12 from 9:00-9:45 a.m. CT, the Connected World Conference will host two sessions for those interested in various aspects of the smart grid. The “Welcome Home” panel will dial in on the smart home of the future, talking about connected appliances like the iTotal Control and other devices and systems that can help make home life more convenient and energy efficient.

Or, stop by the “Lit San Leandro, Smart City” session, which will delve into the ways today’s cities are becoming high-tech hubs of innovation. To learn more about the event, or to register to attend, go to www.connectedworldmag.com/conference



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