Wednesday, July 2, 2008
4. How does the energy company communicate with the user?
There are two main components that help the energy company achieve its objectives.
Smart energy gateway: This is typically connected to your broadband connection and serves as an access point for the energy companies to talk to you. In the future, we may have carriers providing zigbee-enabled gateways for the user to have a single device that provides broadband also communicates with your energy company.
In-house Display: This is essentially the smart-energy equivalent of a mobile phone. This wireless device can be a kitchen-top device or a device attached to your refrigerator. The gateway can communicate raw data to the device which can process and provide information for the consumer to assimilate. Examples of such information include peak hours, rates, usage, usage projections etc.
5. How are the devices controlled?
A rudimentary model would be to assume that once the information is provided, the user will use his discretion to manually turn off devices. A more advanced model would be to provide control features in the display either through buttons or touch-screens. The control information is the stimulus for the gateway to communicate with the intelligent or smart devices installed in your house.
6. That is in-house control. How about remote control?
This is where the usage model gets more interesting. The energy company may use the back-end platform it uses to communicate through the gateway to perform a multitude of other functions. The most logical thing to do is to provide a web interface through which the user can monitor the information passed on to the display. Additionally, he/she can also control the actions of the gateway. Hence you have a remote monitor and control mechanism in place.