Industry group aims to provide smart meter interoperability

A host of smart meter solutions providers in the UK have teamed up to create an interoperability group that they claim could allow households in the country see combined savings of £938m ($1.47bn) per year.

The interoperability group has been launched by global smart grid communications firm Trilliant, and aims to unify multiple home energy management devices within a single eco-system. The group has eight more members on board, including energy and water resource management solution provider, Itron, data and analytics for utilities firm Onzo, and Chameleon, a manufacturer of smart meter in-home displays. The firms are using smart energy interoperability standards SSWG and ZigBee to standardise on.

“The aim of the group is to create an ecosystem so that we can go to utilities firms and sell our solutions and they will all work together,” said Neill Young, marketing director for EMEA at Trilliant.

“The utilities companies have a pot of products that they can choose from, whether its meters, communications or displays, and they will all work within the same environment together. Those utilities firms will be able to have a single gateway into the home, and this will lower their development costs, lower their risks and allow them get to market with smart solutions a lot quicker.”

Recent research commissioned by the European Smart Metering Industry Group found that UK households have the potential to achieve annual savings of £938m a year by measuring and managing their electricity use using smart meters.

The UK government has identified smart meters as a key energy efficiency technology and is aiming for 52 million smart meters to be installed in 30 million homes and businesses in the UK between 2014 and 2019. One of the key barriers that has been cited with the rollout is the technical complexity of having multiple energy management devices on the market.  By unifying these manufacturers, the group aims to limit the time and expense of separate standalone equipment rollouts, and provide a simpler and more reliable offering for utilities firms.

“By taking advantage of standards, testing each others’ products against others, utilities firms won’t have to spend so much and will experience a lot less risk when deploying smart services,” said Young.

“It also means they’re not stuck with one solution, and can swap out a solution with that of another member of the interoperability group, if they choose to.”

Young added that there are a host of utilities firms that are currently in talks with the group, and hopes to make announcements regarding this in the near future.


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