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Smart meter spec gets consensus on protocols

Posted: 16 Jun 2011     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:smart meter  HTTP  CoAP 

The Zigbee Alliance that hosts the Smart Energy Version 2 working group says it has reached an agreement on protocol handling for the smart meter spec that is seen as a foundation for home networks that carry data about electric power use.

In an alliance meeting last week in Wuxi, China, the working group unanimously agreed on a proposal for a technical solution regarding the use of separate HTTP and CoAP protocols to optimise Smart Energy 2 for different devices, the alliance said. Failure to agree on supporting both protocols stalled an earlier ballot; a fact which one source said could delay utility roll outs of the technology for as much as six months.

The latest agreement means the draft standard can advance into the next ballot, scheduled to begin on July 11.

The issue emerged in a meeting in April when Zigbee backers said the standard needed a second software stack to support very low power applications. In May, one working group members said the requirement is essentially put deployments of smart meters on hold.

Smart Energy 2 defines an IP-based network of running over both wired and wireless communication protocols, including those supported by the HomeGrid Forum, the HomePlug Powerline Alliance, the Wi-Fi Alliance and the ZigBee Alliance. The existing version 1.0 only supports Zigbee, and at least one working group member said the standards conflicts served as delaying tactics for Zigbee members to get more time to get their solutions to market.

"Dealing with the realities of an open standards development process can be difficult, but the effort is necessary to ensure the needs of the broadest set of stakeholders are met," says Bob Heile, chairman of the ZigBee Alliance in a press statement.

He adds that, "The ZigBee Alliance is committed to using all of its resources to assist moving Smart Energy 2 rapidly forward because we know this standard is essential to helping utilities and energy service providers maintain the security and consistency of energy supplies around the world."

- Rick Merritt
  EE Times

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