An industry association that’s focused on developing a standard for connecting energy aware consumer products with smart meters says it’s released its first specification for product developers, the so-called “Utility Smart Access Port Bus Specification.”
The U-SNAP Alliance – a group of utilities, manufacturers and consultants and that was formed to create and publish a standard, establish testing and certification procedures for product conformance and educate consumers, utilities and vendors on the benefits of the standard – says its new spec gives manufacturers guidelines on how to create U-SNAP compliant interfaces to accommodate radios for several wireless standards such as ZigBee, Z-Wave, WiFi (News - Alert), FM and FlexNet.
“The first products based on the U-SNAP specification will consist of a family of communicating thermostats that are expected be on retail shelves later this year,” said Barry Haaser of the U-SNAP Alliance.
The specification helps manufacturers build a single product capable of supporting any utility automatic metering infrastructure program or home automation solution.
Importantly, Alliance officials said that the U-SNAP Serial Interface is designed to facilitate communication between smart grid devices and U-SNAP communication modules.
A smart grid service is a functional element that provides control, monitoring and informational services within a home area network, while a UCM provides a communication interface between an electric utility’s meter and its customers’ smart grid device, such as thermostat, in-home display or electric appliance.
According to Haaser, consumers purchasing U-SNAP-compliant thermostats can access them locally or remotely over the Internet. He also said that consumers participating in utility sponsored smart meter programs may be able to use U-SNAP compliant thermostats to show how much they are paying for electricity and much they are consuming.
Jon Rappaport, chairman at U-SNAP Alliance, said that several companies are building products based on the first U-SNAP specification, adding that work is well underway to finalize Version 2 of the specification supporting higher-powered radios.
“The updated specification will be backward compatible with the first specification, while satisfying utility requirements for demand response programs,” said Rappaport.
Don’t forget to check out TMCnet’s White Paper Library, which provides a selection of in-depth information on relevant topics affecting the IP Communications industry. The library offers white papers, case studies and other documents which are free to registered users.
Anshu Shrivastava is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of Anshu’s articles, please visit her columnist page.
Edited by Michael Dinan