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SEP 2 IP-based energy management for home


What exactly is smart energy profile (SEP 2) IP-based energy management for the home? Introducing the SEP 2, Tobin Richardson, chairman and CEO, ZigBee Alliance said ZigBee smart energy is the standard of choice for home area networks (HANs).

ZigBeeAbout 40+ million ZigBee electric meters are being deployed. ZigBee smart energy is being enhanced by network/communications options, support for forward-looking developments, etc. SEP 2 is a joint effort with the HomePlug Alliance. There is a vision of MAC/PHY agnostic SmartEnergy profile.

Robby Simpson, SEP 2 Technical Working Group Chair, system architect, GE Digital Energy, provided the features and benefits of Smart Energy. Features include price communication, demand response and load control, energy usage information/metering data, prepayment metering, text messaging, plug-in electric vehicles, distributed energy resources, billing communication, etc.

Example applications are many, such as smartphones, ESI in the sky, tablets, TVs, plug-in electric vehicles, PCs, solar inverters, thermostats, energy management systems, smart meters, building management systems, smart appliances, etc. There is support for a variety of architectures. The use of IP eases convergence and architecture changes. A consortium for SEP 2 interoperability (CSEP) has been established.

Skip Ashton, ZigBee Arch. review committee chair, senior apps director,  Silicon Labs said implementations of SEP 2 are available from a number of companies and across several MAC/PHYs. All standard documents are available for review.

Jeff Gooding, Southern California Edison (SCE), spoke about creating SEP 2 energy ecosysyems. SEP 2 can bridge multi-platform customer technologies to create a rich ecosystem. SEP 2 customer focused solutions can allow the utilities and energy service providers to use any customer communication channel. SEP 2 pilots at SCE include a gateway pilot and a smart charging pilot. Both are separate pilots.

Convergence of PV materials, test and reliability: What really matters?


SEMI, USA recently hosted the seminar on ‘Convergence of PV Materials, Test and Reliability: What Really Matters?

Reliability in growing PV industry
Speaking on the importance of reliability to a growing PV industry, Sarah Kurtz, principal scientist, Reliability group manager, NREL, said that confidence in long-term performance is a necessity in the PV industry. Current failure rates are low. There is need to demonstrate confidence so that failure rates will stay low. There has been exponential growth of the PV industry so far. PV is a significant fraction of new installations. It now represents a significant fraction of new electricity generating installations of all kinds.

How does one predict the lifetime of PV modules? There has been a qualification test evolution for JPL block buys. Most studies of c-Si modules show module failures are small. Internal electrical current issues often dominate.

The vast majority of installations show very low PV module failure rates (often less than 0.1 percent). There has been evidence that PV is low risk compared to other investments. To sustain the current installation rate, we need to demonstrate confidence that justifies the annual investment of $100 million or so.

Critical factors in economic viability of PV
DuPont has broad capabilities under one roof. It offers materials, solar cell design, and processes integrated with panel engineering. Speaking about Critical factors in economic viability of PV – materials matter – Conrad Burke, global marketing director, DuPont PV Solutions, said that material suppliers have a distinct advantage to view trends. The industry can expect consolidation among large PV module producers and large materials suppliers.

There is an increasing dependence on materials suppliers for processes, tech support and roadmap. There is renewed attention to long-term reliability and quality of materials in PV products.

There is a race for survival among panel producers. There are dropping prices for solar panels, and quality is getting compromised. There are reduced incentives in established markets. The market will continue to grow. Key factors that determine investment return for PV include lifetime, efficiency and cost.

When materials fail, the consequences are dire. There are failures such as encapsulant discoloration, backsheet failure, glass delamination, etc. Average defect rates in new-build modules has been increasing. Significant number of PV installations do not deliver the projected RoI. The system lifetime is as important as cost and incentives.

Solar cell power continues to improve. There have been improvements from metal pastes and processes. Performance loss impacts the RoI. The US Department of Energy hired JPL to develop 30-year PV modules. Recent cost pressures have led to the dramatic changes in module materials and a lack of transparency.

Analyzing modules from the recent service environments show performance issues. Certification does not mitigate risk. Tests do not predict the actual field performance. He showed tier-1 solar panel manufacturing problems from China, Japan and the USA. Backsheet is critical to protect solar panels. Few materials have lengthy field experience. We will continue to see drop in prices for solar panels and opening of new markets. Focus for PV module makers will remain efficiency, etc.
Read more…

Semicon industry at inflection point of innovation: Rich Beyer


Rich Beyer, chairman and CEO, Freescale Semiconductor, at the Freescale Technology Forum 2011, in Bangalore, India.

Rich Beyer, chairman and CEO, Freescale Semiconductor.

Rich Beyer, chairman and CEO, Freescale Semiconductor.

Prior to this year’s FTF, Freescale marked another milestone in our company’s history. We have returned to the public trading arena with our IPO on May 26.  We used the proceeds from the IPO to pay down a portion of our debt and reduce our interest expense. This will enable Freescale to continue to grow our investments in products, software, sales and customer support. We are confident, as a result, we will continue to offer you even better world class solutions.

Having publicly traded stock will also give us more flexibility than just available cash to fund potential acquisitions and future innovation investments that will reinforce our competitive differentiation moving forward. And, the IPO is a strong affirmation that Freescale is on a very successful trajectory in the eyes of the investment community! While we have changed to become a publicly traded company, we have not changed our vision or our strategic focus. Our vision remains the same: we are committed to being the leader in embedded processing solutions.

We will continue to build on our market leadership positions by focusing on our core strengths: embedded processors, applications processors, microcontrollers and DSPs; RF, analog and sensors; and the software that delivers a clear competitive advantage to our customers.

Era of connected intelligence
Over the past several years, we have entered the era of connected intelligence where embedded processing is driving the Internet of Things. In the PC era of the past, processing was centralized within a traditional computing environment. Users relied heavily on computing hardware and rigid software to perform desired tasks.

In today’s era of connected intelligence, data is ubiquitous, and we expect our electronic devices to conform to us. We want them to be social and mobile. They are aware of our surroundings, and they understand and adapt to the context in which we are using them. They are always on and they are always with us.

Semiconductor innovation
We are at an inflection point in what is driving semiconductor innovation. In the PC era, the focus was on the sheer performance of the processor. The power consumption implications were handled by a building bigger box, adding a cooling fan or using a larger battery.

In the era of Connected Intelligence, embedded processing performance needs to be balanced with power efficiency, and system capability is enabled by the intelligent integration of sensor, RF and analog interfaces and the usage of efficient, system sparing software.

The insatiable demand for connectivity will continue to push the industry for solutions that deliver more performance, improved efficiency and lower operating costs. Semiconductor innovation now is being driven by embedded processing solutions with a system-level view and developed with an application-level expertise that is critical to efficient and timely implementation. Read more…

Trends in embedded — smart and green energy: ST


Vivek Sharma, STMicroelectronics.

Vivek Sharma, STMicroelectronics.

It is a such a pleasure interacting with Vivek Sharma, VP, Greater China & South Asia-India Operations, and director, India Design Centers, STMicroelectronics. While presenting the latest trends in embedded technologies, he hoped that there could eventually be a fab in India, by 2015. Speaking about ‘More Moore’ and ‘More than Moore’, he talked about 3D heterogeneous integration and smart sensors – that provide new, high-growth opportunities. Sharma largely touched upon smart and green energy.

India’s opportunities to leapfrog are immense, especially with a median age of 25.9 years. As for the Indian consumption context, India’s share is ~3 percent worldwide consumption levels 2009/2010. It is said to be $45 billion or ~3 percent in electronics and $6.7 billion or ~2.5 percent in semiconductor consumption.

Taking a look at leveraging of electronics by nations, (as per 2005 data) Taiwan leads with 15.5 percent of GDP, followed by South Korea at 15.1 percent, China at 12.7 percent, Thailand at 12.4 percent, Germany at 8.3 percent, USA at 5.4 percent, Japan at 4.5 percent, and India at 1.7 percent, respectively.

“More than Moore” diversification has been taking place, especially, by combining SoC and SIP to produce higher value systems.

3D heterogeneous integration has been taking place by integrating multiple functions via 3D/TSV. This involves the vertical stacking and connection of various materials, technologies and functional components together:
* Bio, MEMS and other sensors.
* Digital processing (MCUs, MPUs).
* RF transceivers for data transmission.
* Micro-battery (i.e., thin film).
* Other analog ICs and mixed technologies.

Advantages include integrated multi-functionality, more interconnections, reduced power consumption, smaller packaging, increased yield and reliability, and reduced overall costs.

Smart system integration is another trend, which enables combining “More than Moore” and “More Moore” technologies in a single smart system — from multi-package on board to multi-chip on package.

Round-up 2010: Best of electronics, telecom and technology

December 28, 2010 5 comments

Year 2010 has been a good year for the global electronics industry, rather, the technology industry, coming right after a couple of years of recession. Well, it is time to look back on 2010 and see the good, bad and ugly sides, if any, of electronics, telecom and technology.

Presenting my list of top posts for 2010 from these three segments.

ELECTRONICS

Electronics for energy efficient powertrain

Photonics rocks in India @ APW 2010, Cochin!

Plastic Logic’s QUE proReader looks to mean business!

Growing Indian power electronics market provides host of opportunities

Philips focuses on how interoperability, content sharing drive CE devices!

Apple never ceases to amaze!

Is this a war of tablets, or Apple OS vs. Google Android?

India needs to become major hardware player!

Roundup of day 2 @ Electronica India 2010

Strategic roadmap for electronics enabling energy efficient usage: Venkat Rajaraman, Su-Kam

NI stresses on innovation, launches LabVIEW 2010!

What’s Farnell (element14) up to? And, semicon equipment bubble burst? Whoa!!

Bluetooth set as short range wireless standard for smart energy!

View 3D TV, without glasses, today!

Indian medical electronics equipment industry to grow at 17 percent CAGR over next five years: ISA

Top 10 electronics industry trends for 2011

TELECOMMUNICATIONS

LTE will see larger deployments, higher volumes than WiMAX!

LTE should benefit from WiMAX beachhead!

Context-aware traffic mediation software could help telcos manage data tsunami: Openwave

Mobile WiMAX deployment and migration/upgrade strategies

Upgrade to WiMAX 2 uncertain as TD-LTE gains in momentum!

Tejas celebrates 10 years with new products for 3G/BWA backhaul

Focus on gyroscopes for mobile phone apps: Yole

Bluetooth low energy should contribute to WSN via remote monitoring

INSIDE Contactless unveils SecuRead NFC solution for mobile handset market

How are femtocells enhancing CDMA networks?

Top 10 telecom industry trends for 2011

TECHNOLOGY

Symantec’s Internet threat security report on India has few surprises!

Epic — first ever web browser for India, from India!

Norton cybercrime report: Time to take back your Internet from cybercriminals!

NComputing bets big on desktop virtualization

Brocade launches VDX switches for virtualized, cloud-optimized data centers

It isn’t an easy job tracking so many different segments! 🙂 I will try and do better than this next year!

Best wishes for a very, very happy and prosperous 2011! 🙂

Bluetooth low energy should contribute to WSN via remote monitoring

November 3, 2010 1 comment

This is the concluding part of my discussion with Mike Foley, executive director, Bluetooth SIG, which looks at how the market for in-home wireless in smart energy will be developing in the years ahead, as well as the scope in wireless sensor networks (WSN).

Focus of Bluetooth Smart Energy Group
First, a bit about the focus of Bluetooth Smart Energy Group and what it has achieved so far.

The Smart Energy Study Group, includes major players like Emerson, and illustrates the Bluetooth SIG’s commitment to this market. The Study Group is working closely with other standards bodies to help define future global standards for smart energy and the products that form that ecosystem.

Foley said: “Within the next few years, your utility will start to replace your existing meters and you will be able to buy household appliances that can connect to your smart meter. The Bluetooth SIG is working with the industry to ensure that such a connection is cost effective, reliable and secure.

“Currently, Bluetooth is used around the world in smart energy applications — from simple energy monitors to complex mesh networks controlling solar arrays. With a ubiquitous presence in mobile phones, it also provides an ecosystem for controlling smart energy devices that users already own. The group has come together to make a strong case for Bluetooth in the smart energy market, and to push for next steps in this growing industry.”

Market for in-home wireless
Given this scenario, it will be interesting to survey how the market for in-home wireless in smart energy will be developing in the years ahead.

According to Foley, remote control and home automation have a bright future in the smart energy space. If Bluetooth is selected for the connectivity link to appliances, the integration of a smart ecosystem throughout the home will be significantly easier and faster. Once home appliances start to connect, they will likely also require their own wireless connections.

Zpryme Research has predicted that by 2015, 19.2 percent of washing machines, 17.4 percent of refrigerators and 17.3 percent of dryers sold in the US will include smart connections. Also, Whirlpool has publicly announced that by 2015, all of its electronically controlled appliances will be capable of receiving and responding to signals from smart grids. Read more…

Bluetooth set as short range wireless standard for smart energy!

November 1, 2010 1 comment

Back in early 2003, I’d done a story with Anders Edlund, marketing director, EMEA of Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG). Those were the days when Bluetooth was just overcoming its teething problems. At that time, the SIG had unveiled a ‘five-minute ready’ program created to challenge and guide Bluetooth product developers and manufacturers in the Asia Pacific region to deliver devices that give consumers a “five-minute out-of-the-box experience.”

Mike Foley, executive director, Bluetooth SIG.

Mike Foley, executive director, Bluetooth SIG.

Fast forward to 2010! Nearly a fortnight ago, the Bluetooth SIG announced an enhanced focus on the needs of manufacturers of consumer devices in the smart grid environment. This effort, called Bluetooth Smart Energy, addresses the needs for wireless connections of sensors and actuators in the residence.

It is a great pleasure to hook up again with the Bluetooth SIG after quite a few years. Bluetooth as a technology, and Bluetooth SIG itself, have come a long way, very successfully, as well.

In the first part of a two-part discussion on Bluetooth Smart Energy, Mike Foley, executive director, Bluetooth SIG, discusses the rationale behind the Smart Energy effort, how it will benefit users, and whether it can stand up to possible challenges from other technologies.

May I also take this opportunity to thank Ms Jennifer Lopez, who made this possible, along with Starr Million Baker. Back to the story!

Rationale behind Bluetooth SIG’s Smart Energy effort
First, obviously, why the effort behind the Bluetooth SIG’s smart energy effort and why now!

According to Mike Foley, the smart energy market is a rapidly growing arena and one that the SIG is very interested in expanding its presence.

He said: “As different smart energy projects are planned, developed, and implemented, it is clear that there are different national requirements for each. However, there is an agreement that smart energy within the domestic environment will require the introduction of smart meters – and that is where we come in.

“These meters, which monitor and control our use of electricity, gas, and water, will need to provide real time information to consumers and interact in some form with energy consuming appliances. The interaction will take place with the help of short range wireless connections that are based on an existing standard.

“Bluetooth technology has proven itself to be a universally accepted wireless standard, implemented in a variety of use cases, and is now set to be established as the short range wireless standard for smart energy.”

Challenges from various technologies
Given the case that Bluetooth is positioned to be the short range standard for smart energy, how will it stand up to possible challenges from technologies such as ZigBee, RF4CE, Wi-Fi Direct, ANT, etc?

Foley said: “In my opinion, there is room for different types of technologies in this space. The one thing that has always set Bluetooth technology apart from competitive technologies is its ubiquity. Bluetooth technology is used in a variety of devices and is the go-to wireless standard for mobile phones, which are devices that could play a key role in remote energy monitoring.”

If utilities are going to adopt a short range wireless standard – why not adopt one that already has a presence in a number of key devices that users already own?

Bluetooth is by far the most successful of any of the short range wireless standards. It has been around for just over 10 years (twice as long as ZigBee) and outsells all of the other short range standards put together, with over 1 billion chips shipped every year.

“The very first Bluetooth products can still communicate with new ones that you buy today – something that neither 802.11 nor ZigBee can claim. Equally importantly, over the decade it has been shipping, it has evolved to address all of the key requirements of the smart energy market,” Foley added. Read more…

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