Wireless Applications

ZigBee Alliance Completes New Smart Energy Profile

January 23, 2008

Utilities gain wireless standard for AMI programs requiring home area networks and interoperable products.


Tampa, FL at DistribuTECH -- The ZigBee Alliance, a global ecosystem of companies creating wireless solutions for use in energy management, commercial and consumer applications, announced it has completed development of its ZigBee Smart Energy public application profile. ZigBee Smart Energy offers utility companies a global open standard for implementing secure, easy-to-use wireless home area networks for managing energy. The profile also offers product manufacturers access to a burgeoning green marketplace by establishing a standards-based technology for new products designed to enhance energy management and efficiency by consumers everywhere.

ZigBee Smart Energy enables wireless communication between utility companies and common household devices such as smart thermostats and appliances. It improves energy efficiency by allowing consumers to choose interoperable products from different manufacturers giving them the means to manage their energy consumption more precisely using automation and near real-time information. It also helps utility companies implement new advanced metering and demand response programs to drive greater energy management and efficiency, while responding to changing government requirements.

ZigBee Smart Energy offers innovative electric, gas and water utilities support for advanced metering, demand response, load control, pricing, and customer messaging programs. It provides communication and control for devices such as in-home displays, programmable communicating thermostats, water heaters, lighting, smart appliances, plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, plus energy service portals and energy management systems. Here is a more detailed list of features (PDF).

With the global energy crisis, many countries are facing energy supply and demand imbalances that will require alternative energy management and efficiency solutions like ZigBee Smart Energy. For example, North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) reported that electricity demand in the United States is expected to increase by 135,000 megawatts in the next decade yet only 77,000 megawatts of new resources have been identified, creating a shortfall of 58,000 megawatts—an amount equivalent to 110 large power plants. Energy management and efficiency solutions can bridge the gap. For example, the U.S. Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory released the results of a year-long study two weeks ago showing that households with digital tools controlling temperature and price preferences saved on average 10 percent on utility bills. The study also showed that if households have digital tools to control temperature and price preferences, peak loads on utility grids can be cut by up to 15 percent translating into $70 billion dollars saved over a 20 year period on new power plants and infrastructure expenditures.

"ZigBee Smart Energy was the result of a powerful collaboration between leading utility companies, product manufacturers, and technology suppliers, ensuring the latest features are built in to meet current market demands," said Bob Heile, chairman of the ZigBee Alliance. "ZigBee Smart Energy provides a critical piece to many energy management and efficiency programs underway today because it creates a global, open standard allowing energy consumers information and control over their energy use and helps utility companies expand relations with their customers while planning for a greener future."

A number of Alliance members are currently building products that will be certified by the Alliance to support ZigBee Smart Energy. These companies include: Cellnet+Hunt, Ember, Freescale Semiconductor, Itron, Tendril and Texas Instruments, who are ZigBee Alliance Promoter member companies and members of the Board of Directors which is responsible for setting the Alliance's direction in the energy sector. Some of the other members building ZigBee Smart Energy products include: Alektrona, Computime, Comverge, Control4, Corporate Systems Engineering, Daintree Networks, Digi International, Elster, Energate, Frontline Test Equipment, Golden Power, Greenbox Technology, LS Research, PRI Limited, Radio Thermostat Company of America, Riga Development, Trilliant Networks and Wireless Glue Networks.

ZigBee: Wireless Control That Simply Works
The ZigBee Alliance is an association of companies working together to enable reliable, cost effective, low-power, wirelessly networked, monitoring and control products based on an open global standard. The ZigBee Alliance membership comprises technology providers and manufacturers worldwide. Membership is open to all.


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