editor's blog
Subscribe Now

More smart grid standardization work

Almost a year ago we took a look at smart grid technology. One of the obvious things that emerged when looking at how smart grids are evolving is the fact that it’s very fractured: each country or region has its own way of doing things. There may well be overlap, but that’s not necessarily due to strategic collaboration; sometimes it just happens.

So it was with interest that I saw that CEVA announced approval by the Israeli Chief Scientist (who knew that countries had CTOs!) of a consortium for standardizing various smart-grid-related technologies. I checked with CEVA to see what the scope is: is this another regional effort or is there some global work ongoing? The fact that an Israeli government functionary was giving a blessing made it feel very much like an Israel-only thing.

Turns out that it is an Israel-only effort, with all participating companies and academic institutions being Israeli, partially funded by government dollars – which can’t go to non-Israeli companies. There are some non-Israeli observers: IBM has expressed interest in observing, for example. Their ideas will be demonstrated on a local pilot grid run by the local utility (IEC).

But they have global designs – specifically, CEVA said it’s “an Israeli consortium with global focus,” meaning that whatever comes out of the consortium will join the competition for ideas around the world. That’s not quite the same as a global harmonization effort, although, if more good ideas are thrown on the pile, that’s a good thing – as long as it’s quality of ideas and not parochialism and entrenched interest that drive decisions globally. And, as they point out, the Israeli market itself is small, so it’s really the rest of the world that drives the ROI on this effort. And all of the participating companies sell globally.

Smart meters are of some personal interest since I happen to live in the smart-meter-hating capital of the world (I assume; I can’t imagine how any other place could hate them more). There’s an official city moratorium on them, although that clearly carries no weight, since the utility just went through and converted my neighborhood. Although I did see that they spared some meters that specifically had “do not convert” notes on them. I know one couple that has multiple padlocks on their old meter to ensure that it doesn’t get removed.

Just out of curiosity, I asked whether any of these controversial issues were in any way involved in the list of things to be addressed by the consortium. And, to be clear, the issues really boil down to two: the concern with wireless technology in general, stemming from the concern about the health effects of cell phones; and privacy concerns, given that the utility can decode many of the appliances by looking at the power signature, and that the Googles of the world are anxiously waiting to buy that data.

As I suspected, neither of those topics is on the table. Of course, the consortium concerns itself with all manner of smart grid technologies – not all of which are wireless. And, really, that whole wireless health issue has to be resolved on its own. Although, talking to some of these people, I believe that no amount of science will convince them that there’s not a problem (assuming that there isn’t one).

As to the privacy thing, CEVA acknowledged that there could be some concern, but that it ultimately wouldn’t stop progress “…mainly because the benefits of smart grid to both utilities and its customers are much greater than its faults.” Which is a bit of a “privacy is dead, get over it” approach. Then again, such privacy issues are probably more of a policy issue than a technical one – pass laws forbidding utilities from selling personally-identifiable power-use data without explicit opt-in, for example. So as long as the consortium isn’t doing anything specifically to make it easier to snoop on everyone’s intimate power use details, it’s presumably out of their domain.

More info on the consortium can be found on CEVA’s press release

Leave a Reply

featured blogs
Sep 30, 2022
When I wrote my book 'Bebop to the Boolean Boogie,' it was certainly not my intention to lead 6-year-old boys astray....
Sep 30, 2022
Wow, September has flown by. It's already the last Friday of the month, the last day of the month in fact, and so time for a monthly update. Kaufman Award The 2022 Kaufman Award honors Giovanni (Nanni) De Micheli of École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne...
Sep 29, 2022
We explain how silicon photonics uses CMOS manufacturing to create photonic integrated circuits (PICs), solid state LiDAR sensors, integrated lasers, and more. The post What You Need to Know About Silicon Photonics appeared first on From Silicon To Software....

featured video

PCIe Gen5 x16 Running on the Achronix VectorPath Accelerator Card

Sponsored by Achronix

In this demo, Achronix engineers show the VectorPath Accelerator Card successfully linking up to a PCIe Gen5 x16 host and write data to and read data from GDDR6 memory. The VectorPath accelerator card featuring the Speedster7t FPGA is one of the first FPGAs that can natively support this interface within its PCIe subsystem. Speedster7t FPGAs offer a revolutionary new architecture that Achronix developed to address the highest performance data acceleration challenges.

Click here for more information about the VectorPath Accelerator Card

featured paper

Algorithm Verification with FPGAs and ASICs

Sponsored by MathWorks

Developing new FPGA and ASIC designs involves implementing new algorithms, which presents challenges for verification for algorithm developers, hardware designers, and verification engineers. This eBook explores different aspects of hardware design verification and how you can use MATLAB and Simulink to reduce development effort and improve the quality of end products.

Click here to read more

featured chalk talk

Har-Modular for PCB Connectivity

Sponsored by Mouser Electronics and HARTING

Did you know that you can create custom modular connector solutions from off the shelf components that are robust, save PCB space and are easy to assemble? In this episode of Chalk Talk, Amelia Dalton chats with Phill Shaw and Nazario Biala from HARTING about the Har-Modular PCB connector system that gives you over a billion combination possibilities for data, signal and power.

Click here for more information about HARTING har-modular PCB Connectors