IEEE launches smart-cities initiative

Standards body IEEE has launched a new smart-cities initiative aimed at providing strategic and practical advice to municipalities hoping to address population- and resource-related challenges through the use of M2M and Internet of Things (IoT) technologies.

The group says it will consider applications for advice from municipalities and has set up a dedicated team of IEEE (Piscataway, NJ, USA) experts to provide education and training.

Panasonic develops new wireless tech for sensor networks

Japan’s Panasonic claims to have developed a new wireless communications technology specifically intended for M2M sensor networks.

According to the company, the technology can detect multiple wireless standards that differ from one country to another or between applications.

By sharing software and reducing the amount of signal processing, the new technology integrates multiple communication modes, says Panasonic (Osaka, Japan) – meaning engineers can design and develop modules that are small but will operate for extended periods of time.

Sunrise unveils low-power radio core for IoT sensors

Sunrise Micro Devices has unveiled a new radio core product aimed specifically at meeting the growing demand for Internet of Things (IoT) sensors across a variety of industry sectors.

The CORDIO BT4 radio core is described as the company’s first radio core offering from Sunrise’s (Deerfield Beach, FL, USA) CORDIO family of sub-volt wireless products.

It incorporates Bluetooth technology and is said to be highly energy efficient, making it suitable for sensors that are expected to operate for years without human intervention.

GE, Quirky launch connected air-conditioning unit

GE has taken the wraps off a new connected air-conditioning unit developed in partnership with engineering company Quirky and aimed at lowering energy costs for US consumers.

Branded Aros, the unit represents Quirky’s (New York City, NY, USA) first major connected appliance but the fifth product that has been launched in collaboration with GE (Fairfield, CT, USA), which announced a tie-up with Quirky back in April 2013.

In a statement, GE said that Aros is immediately available through Amazon.com and will be sold through major US retailers from May.

Telefonica SmartSantander project to become smart-cities blueprint

Telefonica claims its pioneering SmartSantander project has exceeded initial expectations and could become a blueprint for the development of smart cities in future.

Launched three years ago with a budget of €8.67 million ($11.93 million), the project in Santander has made use of an array of M2M and Internet of Things technologies, delivering benefits in areas including energy and traffic management and healthcare.

Cellular nodes for smart grids set to boom: Navigant Research

Annual revenue generated from the sale of public cellular communications nodes for smart grid applications will rise from $75.4 million in 2013 to $348.3 million in 2018, according to the latest study from Navigant Research.

While utilities have numerous communications options for connecting nodes on the power grid – including fiber, copper leased line networks and power line communications – there has been an upsurge of interest in the use of cellular networks in recent years.

New Zealand government establishes Smart Grid Forum

New Zealand’s government has set up a new Smart Grid Forum charged with advancing the deployment of smart electricity networks in the country.

In a statement, energy and resources minister Simon Bridges said that New Zealand needed to develop smarter electricity systems in future to cope with demand for emerging technologies as well as changing consumer preferences.

“The new Smart Grid Forum will provide a platform for information-sharing about these new challenges and opportunities, as well as providing advice on the deployment of a smart grid in New Zealand,” he said.

UPA says replaced 150,000 meters for OUC in system-wide upgrade

Utility Partners of America (UPA) says it has already replaced about 150,000 digital electric meters as part of a system-wide smart-meter upgrade for the Orlando Utilities Commission (OUC).

Noting that work on the OUC (Orlando, FL, USA) project is proceeding according to plan, the smart-meter player said the rollout would allow OUC to offer a “smarter energy choice” to customers benefiting from the new technology.

Apex CoVantage wins tender in VIWAPA smart-grid deployment

Apex CoVantage says it has been chosen to supply installation and project-management services to the US Virgin Islands Water & Power Authority (VIWAPA) as part of the utility’s smart-metering deployment.

The smart-grid specialist claims to have been selected during a “competitive bidding process, from a group of highly capable companies”.

Apex (Herndon, VA, USA) has developed a full enterprise resource planning platform for mobile workforce management – branded ProField – and this platform will be used to manage various deployment activities on the VIWAPA project.

Itron wins smart-meter contract with Pennsylvania's FirstEnergy

Smart-meter developer Itron says it will deploy more than two million smart meters for US utility owner FirstEnergy, which hopes to reduce its own costs and improve the service it offers to its energy customers in Pennsylvania.

The contract will see Itron (Liberty Lake, WA, USA) launch smart-grid services across four Pennsylvania-based utilities owned by FirstEnergy (Akron, OH, USA) – Metropolitan Edison, Pennsylvania Electric, Pennsylvania Power and West Penn Power.

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