The benefits of smart grids still need to be communicated to industry and consumers in the UK, even though there is clearly an appetite for energy-sector change, according to a new report by the UK Energy Research Centre (UKERC).
According to the study, various key issues have yet to be tackled in preparing for the “smart” revolution, including low levels of public understanding, misuse of data and concerns that energy suppliers will be able to remotely control home appliances.
Nordic countries are a hotspot for M2M growth, with the number of “connected things” in the region already surpassing its total population, according to new research from TeliaSonera and Arthur D. Little.
The study predicts that by 2017 there will be 2.6 connected things per person, with solutions for connecting buildings, vehicles, people and consumer gadgets all driving growth.
Japanese firms Briscola and Internet Initiative Japan (IIJ) have teamed up to develop cloud-based M2M services, revealing that solar-power company Asahi Denshi has become their first customer.
Under the strategic alliance, Briscola (Tokyo, Japan) will contribute its expertise in developing sensor-driven cloud platforms, with IIJ (Tokyo, Japan) providing the necessary infrastructure to support M2M services.
Briscola and IIJ say they have already built a “proof-of-concept” environment for a solar-monitoring system on behalf of Asahi Denshi.
Swedish networks vendor Ericsson has signed up another customer to its smart-metering services in the form of Italgas, a natural gas distributor in Italy.
Under the deal, Ericsson (Stockholm, Sweden) is to build an advanced meter management and reading system and integrate this with existing systems for some 150,000 large and industrial customers of Italgas (Turin, Italy).
The system will be the first in Italy’s gas market, allowing Italgas to gather data from gas meters and transfer it to its own internal IT environment.
China is now outspending the US on the installation of smart-grid technology, investing as much as $4.3 billion in 2013, according to new research from Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF).
Much of China’s spending last year went on the rollout of some 62 million smart meters, bringing the total number it has deployed to just less than 250 million.
German telecoms incumbent Deutsche Telekom has launched a pilot smart-city project in the Italian city of Pisa that includes the provision of smart-parking and intelligent lighting services.
The operator expects the technology to help reduce carbon emissions and energy expenses.
It says drivers hunting for parking spaces are responsible for as much as 30% of traffic in big cities, and that more efficient management of street lighting could reduce electricity costs by up to 70% and maintenance costs by as much as 10%.
Lebanese authorities are trying out smart-metering technology from Itron as part of efforts to improve the country’s energy distribution network.
State electricity utility Electricite du Liban and distribution service provider KVA anticipate deploying more than 1.2 million smart meters across Lebanon – in what would be the largest smart-metering deployment in the Middle East so far – should a pilot prove successful.
The OpenADR Alliance and the WI-SUN Alliance have announced a partnership designed to speed up the rollout of energy-efficient program offerings.
The two standards bodies say they will work together on enabling interoperability between smart utility networks and utility demand response systems based on the OpenADR specification.
Semiconductor maker Silicon Labs has launched a new system-on-a-chip (SoC) family to meet the needs of more advanced smart energy and home automation products.
The company’s ARM-based EM358X SoC family provides additional flash and RAM memory options, while also offering USB connectivity and a local-storage bootloader aimed at helping developers to reduce bill of material costs and system complexity.
Silicon Labs (Austin, TX, USA) also said the SoC family was ideal as a mesh networking platform for “feature-rich, next-generation ZigBee applications.
Middleware supplier HCC Embedded has launched a new smart-meter file system (SMFS) designed to reduce power consumption and lower costs.
The company says its technology cuts down on expenses because it allows the on-board capacitor to be as small as possible, and that its file-system features can result in savings of many “cents” for each meter.
That could lead to significant savings in high volume manufacture, says HCC Embedded.