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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.

Cisco_2-kids

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Beyond MQTT: A Cisco View on IoT Protocols

A core part of Cisco’s Internet of Everything narrative is the Internet of Things—what we view as the latest wave of the Internet -- connecting physical objects in ways that help us analyze and control our environment to provide better safety, comfort, and efficiency.

This is not a new concept—RFID was introduced in the late 1960s—but it has reached a tipping point for IP connectivity, driven by advances in sensor technology, IPv6, and electronics miniaturization.

Amid this move toward IP, Cisco is continuing its long-standing participation in OASIS (Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards) by participating in the effort to produce an MQTT standard. Read More »

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Cisco Connected Grid Update

2012 was an exciting year for Cisco’s Connected Energy business.

Cisco entered the Smart Grid space 3 years ago and we have seen significant customer momentum.  We now have more than 250 customers worldwide. These include advanced metering infrastructure, substation and utility data center deployments in North America and wide area, substation, and distribution networks in Europe and Asia.  In 2012, we had over 175 production deployments and picked up the UTC Best Smart Grid Products/Solutions for FAN and Substation as well as the Frost & Sullivan innovations awards. Our Connected Grid Cisco Developer Network of partners continues to grow as well and we will be announcing more members in the coming months.  

Last Wednesday we announced an expansion of the Connected Grid Portfolio. The new offerings include the Cisco® Utility Operational Network solution, Cisco Connected Grid Design Suite, and Cisco Incident Response and Workforce Enablement solution. These three new solutions will help utilities modernize, manage, and improve everyday grid operations. Read More »

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Cisco Smart Grid Team Supports Wi-SUN Alliance to Drive Interoperability

Cisco’s Smart Grid Team is excited to support the Wireless Smart Utility Network Alliance (Wi-SUN). Lionel Chocron, vice president and general manager of Cisco’s Connected Energy Networks Business, will be representing Cisco on the Wi-Sun board of directors. Cisco will be joining at the promoter level and the entire team is looking forward to helping drive the development of interoperable Field Area Networks (FAN) for utility applications.

Field Area Networks today are often closed,  proprietary systems and generally just supporting a single service. As a result, they do not support interoperability across multiple vendors or take advantage of the decades of networking expertise available within the Internet Protocol suite (IP).

By supporting Wi-SUN, Cisco will help drive the technical definition for standards based, multi service, secure, and scalable Field Area Networks. The Field Area Networks will support important utility use cases including Automatic Metering Infrastructure, Outage Management, and Distribution Automation.

The Wi-SUN defined Field Area Network will be based upon the IP protocol suite, with the initial release based on IEEE 802.15.4g PHY and 802.15.4e MAC wireless mesh technologies.  Usage of the IP protocol suite will provide many benefits, including the ability to support additional PHY/MAC technologies in the future.

Our team will further assist in the development of certification testing and “plug-fests” for regions around the world. This will ensure international interoperability between multiple vendors implementing the Wi-SUN defined Field Area Network.

“We are very pleased to be joining the Wi-SUN alliance, and look forward to collaborating with our industry partners to bring interoperable, standards based utility Field Area Networks to reality,” said Lionel Chocron, vice president and general manager of Cisco’s Connected Energy Networks Business Unit.

Other companies who are promoters of the Wi-Sun alliance include:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Further details about the Wi-SUN Alliance can be found here

Cisco Connected Grid products and solution information is available here

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