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Ready for the Next Phase Of The Smart Grid?

Connected GridOne of the greatest changes taking place today in the energy industry is the increased need for information from every aspect of the grid. Utilities need detailed data to meet regulatory requirements and to understand the grid’s condition on a granular level. They need to understand the grid’s condition from moment to moment – helping to cost-effectively balance load and assure reliability.

The opportunities are huge: for example, at CES Cisco CEO John Chambers announced an update to the Internet of Everything (IoE) Value Index estimating that in addition to the $14.4 trillion of value at stake globally over the next decade for private sector through IoE, there is an additional $4.6T in in value at stake for the public sector over the next decade.  The connected grid is a component of this, and it has a lot of potential.

To help realize the opportunities in a connected grid, Cisco has a Unified Field Area Network (FAN) Architecture and Distribution Automation solutions that can extend the utility communications network out to the field and substation device. They help to enable a new level of secure manageability and control on a single integrated architecture.  To learn more about these, register for and join:

Distribution Automation: The Next Phase of the Smart Grid Network

In this webinar you will learn how Cisco is helping Utilities design and deploy an end-to-end communication infrastructure that creates greater value.  Technology experts will be on hand to answer your questions on Cisco FAN Architecture, distribution automation, security and incident response, as well as the future of utilities and IoT!

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A Global Standard for Narrowband Power Line Communications

Steep increase in global demand for Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI), Electric Vehicle charging, and Intelligent Street Lighting has spurred interest to implement communications for these Neighborhood Area Network (NAN) applications over currently installed assets.  Narrow Band Power Line Communication  (NB-PLC) addresses this need by providing a communication solution which operates over existing utility distribution networks.

IEEE 1901.2 Narrowband PLC: Final Steps to the Finish Line

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Driving to the goal of a global NB-PLC standard, Cisco is vigorously engaged in the development of   IEEE 1901.2 NarrowBand PLC.  IEEE 1901.2 adopts the latest generation PLC techniques and  provides full adaptation to the latest IETF enabling technologies for IPv6 based NANs (6LoWPAN, RPL, MPL, etc.). IEEE 1901.2 is further aligned with other important Smart Utility Network technologies such as IEEE 802.15.4g/e.  Multi service IP based NANs are thus a reality, able to seamlessly support a mixture of PHY/MAC technologies appropriate for specific deployments

The IEEE 1901.2 standard is in its final stages of development, with publishing of the finished document expected by the end of 2013.

HomePlug Netricity for Conformance and Interoperability Certification

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With the imminent arrival of the 1901.2 standard comes the need for a certification program to insure product conformance to the specification and interoperability between multiple vendor’s product offerings.  The HomePlug Powerline Alliance is rising to this challenge.  HomePlug’s Netricity program, with the full support of Cisco, is moving smartly ahead with development of a conformance and interoperability certification program for IEEE 1901.2 based devices.  Expect certification testing to begin 2014.

Cisco salutes the commitment and expertise of the entire 1901.2 and Netricity development teams. A global standard for interoperable NB-PLC will soon be a reality!

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Exploring the Internet of Everything in Canada

We sat down with Victor Woo to see how the Internet of Everything is creating innovation in Canada.

Victor, when we first talked, you were just settling in your new role with the Internet of Everything. Since we last spoke, is there anything interesting that you have noted about IoE in Canada?

Absolutely.  One aspect is that Canada is well known for its natural resources with a high concentration of industries in the energy sector. In oil and gas, for example, there is constant requirement to improve performance of existing assets, reduce capital expenditure and operating costs, and increase efficiencies with a limited number of experienced personnel. The opportunity to attach and intelligently connect sensors, or converge multiple systems and equipment used in energy extraction or delivery would yield tremendous benefits. The result of collecting vast amounts of data and turning it into meaningful, real-time information through big data analytics that optimizes the business of oil extraction, production and transport on a continual basis would create huge efficiencies and, at the very least, be transformative.

FOCUS is highlighting people across Cisco and in different parts of the world that are focusing on IoE. How are you approaching the IoE opportunity in the Canada market versus other parts of the world? How is IoE in Canada unique?

Cisco has outlined a vision of being a catalyst for innovation in Canada. Our approach to IoE leadership in Canada is similarly aligned. We seek to help Canadian organizations understand the potential of IoE and to realize how it can be transformative for them in achieving much greater levels of productivity and innovation. Our Cisco objective is to be good for our customers and good for Canada, and as such our strategy focuses on how IoE might help solve some of our national challenges in productivity and innovation, and create new and exciting opportunities. We are looking to change the innovation trajectory of Canada by establishing research chairs and investing in Canadian university research centres to support the advancement IoT/IoE technologies. And, we are working to increase the Cisco Canadian engineering footprint for the development of IoE related products.  Ultimately, our IoE strategy aligns and contributes to Cisco’s vision for Canada: to create a more productive Canada that invests in research, development and job creation.

One of the items you discussed in your first blog post is the importance of innovation and productivity in Canada. As you noted, Canada is ranked 14th in productivity for the second year in a row by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). There is a natural tie between innovation and IoE. Can you share a more of your thoughts about Canada’s role in being an innovative country and how IoE can help?

The importance for Canada needing to improve innovation is crucial. Canada’s growth in labour productivity has been weak – less than 1% annually on average for more than 10 years. It’s among the lowest rates throughout OECD nations. And it’s putting this country at risk to maintain its current standard of living, which is directly linked to productivity and innovation. Canada’s low rate of investment in IT for business also means innovation is likewise weak – especially among small and mid-sized companies where ICT investment in general is extremely low. Innovation fuels improvements in labour productivity. It’s all tied together.

IoE presents an opportunity to perhaps address these things. If we choose to lead the way in IoE adoption, Canada can position itself for success in today’s global economy AND perhaps address many of our current challenges in low ICT investment, which as mentioned ties to innovation, productivity and ultimately raising Canada’s standard of living.

And there are significant profits to be had. For 2013, the Canadian IoE value at stake is estimated to be $57 billion. With approximately $30 billion of value currently realized in the market, there remains much more on the table. The time to move towards innovation and productivity is now.

Can you comment on Canada’s progress on IoE?

I think we’re just scratching the surface of what’s possible for Canada. As you might expect, adoption of IoE is limited, but there’s strong belief and support for the concept. A recent Cisco Consulting Services survey of more than 7,500 businesses and IT decision makers from around the world shows that 80% of Canadian respondents surveyed say they’ve already seen the value and significance of IoE.  In healthcare, we see efforts to bring telemedicine into remote parts of Canada. An inspirational example is how patient care is being improved in Takla Landing by extending frequency of healthcare delivery to this remote community by using video connections to physicians located in urban locations. In the transportation industry, Cisco technology is connecting sensors and controllers, processes and personnel. For example, Bombardier, a global transportation industry leader is embedding IP technology to help its customers enhance rail operations and provide superior customer experience. In energy, BC Hydro is implementing a bold smart-grid initiative. More than 1.9 million smart meters have been deployed, all connected through an intelligent infrastructure to efficiently manage and monitor utilization while providing information to customers and helping them to better manage consumption. On the research front, Cisco Canada has partnered with the University of Waterloo in the area for the advancement of smart-grid research. These are just some of the examples of how the Internet of Everything is changing Canadian lives for the better. And it’s only the beginning.

Are there another opportunities that you would like to see Canada take a leadership role with the Internet of Everything.

Well, Canada is well known for its love of ice hockey. I have no doubt that we’ll see sensors on pucks and players in the near future. I’m excited to see how we work to transform the fan experience through the potential of the Internet of Everything!

 

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Why Smart Microgrids are Gaining Momentum

By Howard Baldwin, Contributing Columnist

For something with “micro” in its name, microgrids are becoming a pretty big deal. Microgrids are distributed, small-scale versions of the centralized conventional electricity grid systems.

According to an August 2013 report from research firm MarketsandMarkets, the total microgrid market is expected to grow at an estimated CAGR of 17% between 2012 and 2022, reaching a total installed capacity of 15.4 gigawatts by 2022 and a value of $27 billion.

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Weird? Or Previously Unexplored?

A connected toothbrush that gives you a virtual checkup every time you brush – is that weird, or near-term reality?

I recently came across the article “25 Weirdest Things in the ‘Internet of Things’” in InfoWorld, which focuses on the different – and what many might consider unorthodox – ways in which the Internet is now playing a part in our everyday lives. The article outlines the many things that could someday be connected to the Internet, and the chain reaction that these connections(and their insights) will have.

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