6 new smart grid products – from the vastness of the cloud to a system-on-chip

By Doug Peeples, SGN News Editor

Apparently the smart grid is still young enough that its component technologies are continually evolving. You can see that readily by taking a quick peek at the mass of announcements and press releases from vendors that fill media inboxes every week.

In our latest product roundup, the selection of products and services highlighted is as diverse as ever: from cloud services to new a EV charging system and what is said to be the world’s first hybrid system-on-chip.

SSN’s new cloud Services. Silver Spring Networks has expanded its suite of offerings with SilverLink cloud services, billed as “the energy industry’s first insight-as-a-service solution.” The point is that the operational services give utilities fast and easy access to and integration of real-time performance analytics, monitoring and alerts for their  smart grid networks and applications.

SilverLink, available by subscription, include the SilverLink Console, which provides real-time application and field network monitoring and performance data in the form of dashboards and reports. And the SilverLink Operations Center provides real-time operations data that allows customers to integrate alerts, configuration and performance information into their existing event management systems. Those services are available now with more SilverLink cloud services to come later in the year.

And more from the cloud: a cloud ecosystem hub from Infosys. Consulting and technology company Infosys has launched its Cloud Ecosystem Hub which allows businesses to create, adopt and manage cloud services throughout their ecosystem. Infosys says businesses can speed up cloud services time-to-market by up to 40%, improve productivity up to 20% and save up to 30%. As Daryl C. Plummer, group VP and chief Gartner fellow put it “As hybrid cloud ecosystems are a reality today, there is a need for enterprises to work with cloud services brokers for smartly assessing and brokering cloud services. To truly unlock the challenges of managing a fragmented IT environment, it would be critical for enterprises to embrace cloud services brokerages.”

Smarter overhead electric distribution networks from GE. GE Energy Management has just released its Multilin™ Intelligent Line Monitoring System, which it describes as “an end-to-end overhead line monitoring solution with advanced analytics that provide actionable intelligence to distribution utilities for improving the reliability and efficiency of their networks. Key points of the monitoring system are, according to GE, ease and cost effectiveness of installation; accurate time-synchronized network data to allow repair crews to restore power faster, and identification of maximum network capacity that can be used on existing subtransmission and distribution networks.

A system-on-chip first from Greenvity. The new offering from Greenvity Communications is what the company says is the world’s first hybrid system-on-chip family that integrates powerline communication (PLC) and wireless capabilities on a single chip. The GreenvityHybrii® chip family accommodates the HomePlug PHY PLC and Zigbee®worldwide standards for “robust and intelligent connectivity for a variety of home and building energy management and electric vehicle applications.” The first of the Hybrii family members are Hybrii-XL intended for smart grid, smart energy management, industrial and consumer applications and Hybrii-PLC, which was designed for use in rugged, high temperature conditions.

New EV charging technology from POD. A leading EV charging company from the UK, POD Point has unveiled a new charging technology, a communicating charge point, that transforms charging locations into smart energy hubs by providing local energy management. The Solo2 communicating charge point is, as POD describes it, “a bridging technology that brings us closer to realizing the smart grid.” As POD technical director Steve Large explained it, “The communicating charge point is a smart energy hub that can be programmed to initiate the charging cycle when the carbon mix of the grid is at its lowest, or synchronize charging cycles according to the availability of locally generated electricity. It also can deliver greater energy efficiency by using the spare energy from buildings to charge parked cars.”

Elster, Industrial Defender team up on cyber security, management solutions. Elster and Industrial Defender have partnered to jointly offer Elster’s EnergyAxis® Advanced Metering Infrastructure system and Industrial Defender’s Automation Systems Manager, which is described as the industry’s “first unified security, compliance and change management solution specifically designed for automation systems.” The agreement is intended to give utilities the tools to improve their operational systems with advanced cyber security and systems management capabilities. David Hart, Elster Solutions senior VP for systems and products, commented “Together with Industrial Defender, Elster provides enhanced confidentiality, integrity and availability for critical data and systems, which protects sensitive information.”

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