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Smart Energy Initiative

Today’s Smart Home is evolving rapidly and has a number of characteristics which fit well with HomePlug technology. In the past, home automation and management was commonly set up on a separate, home control network with its own communication protocols, control consoles and applications. But with the advent of the smart phone and connected tablets, more and more consumers want to control their Smart Homes via mobile devices and monitor status when away from home. The obvious solution is to merge a home’s broadband network with the home control network for seamless connectivity of all devices, everywhere in a Smart Home. In other words, the “Internet of Things,” meaning connections for various smart appliances and controls throughout the home, is merging with the home’s high speed broadband network.

As the average home becomes a media hub, a robust home network is needed to support it. Streaming videos on TVs or computers, online gaming, HDTV and multiple devices running high bandwidth applications throughout the house are becoming the norm, putting enormous pressure on the home network. While wireless offers great mobility around the home, it often struggles when far from the router, particularly with demanding application such as online gaming or streaming videos.

HomePlug has the interoperable solution for the Smart, Connected Home. HomePlug Green PHY technology is low cost and ideally suited for smart appliance and home control applications. The benefits of HomePlug AV as a reliable communications technology for high bandwidth distribution of entertainment-grade HD video, gaming, and internet access has been experienced by millions of consumers and endorsed by dozens of service providers. HomePlug AV2 ups the ante with impressive gains in coverage and performance. To address the clear trend of mobile devices becoming the controller for consumers “digital life,” HomePlug technologies seamlessly integrate with Wi-Fi to ensure whole home wired/wireless high speed broadband and IoT connectivity.

The Smart Energy / Smart Grid Revolution

The Smart Grid uses 21st century information technology to enable efficient delivery of electricity from suppliers to businesses and consumers, reliably and securely, while allowing increased use of renewable power sources. Smart energy management systems, coupled with the advanced smart grid infrastructure, enable two-way digital communication between utility companies and common household devices such as smart thermostats, appliances, utility meters, security systems, electric vehicles and more. Communication can be used to control appliances, save energy, reduce costs and increase reliability and transparency.

Smart Grid deployments have some key requirements:

• Reliable networking across a diverse range of devices
• Compatibility and interoperability with established consumer home networking technologies
• Ubiquitous reach to connect all electricity-using devices throughout the home environment
• Low cost and low power network interfaces for “embedding” in any device
• Cross compatibility between wired and wireless Smart Grid applications
• Robust standards and third party certification mechanisms to ensure universal interoperability amongst connected devices
• An ability to reach throughout the home using existing wiring, without requiring any new wiring

Improved monitoring and control gives users the tools to improve their energy efficiency and drives participation in programs such as time-of-day pricing, lowering the cost for users while aiding load-balancing for utilities. It also helps consumers participate in peak demand shut down programs, with price incentives to allow the Smart Grid to automatically cut electricity usage for non-critical devices during spikes in demand. For utilities, automated meter reading capabilities saves labor costs. These features take metering capabilities to a whole new level.

Utility companies and manufacturers are therefore looking to adopt standard communications and networking technologies not only to help consumers and businesses monitor and reduce their energy consumption, but also to ensure a standard, interoperable design roadmap for themselves.

As Smart Grid deployments rely on robust, reliable and interoperable underlying technologies for home networking communications, HomePlug technology offers an important foundation.