Today’s utilities are challenged to implement IoT and smart city initiatives to benefit their communities, while continuing to provide reliable, high-quality service to their customers. At the same time, funding can be very restricted in the current regulatory and investment setting. This makes interoperability crucial, as it enables utilities to integrate existing technology to support new initiatives, without requiring a major overhaul of existing infrastructure, or expensive integration projects.
You can get there from here
In pursuit of interoperability, many vendors have offered systems that have similar technology foundations, even based on some of the same underlying standards. Because of different proprietary implementations, however, devices from these vendors could not effectively interoperate within a network without specific hardware integrations, one-off custom approaches to interoperability that added cost and complexity and created problems with sustainability. The solution to these integration challenges can be found through the interoperability standards of the Wi-SUN Alliance.
Association and certification: Signposts to smart cities
The Wi-SUN Alliance is a global industry alliance driving the proliferation of interoperable wireless solutions for use in smart cities, smart communities, smart utilities, and other IoT applications. The Alliance ensures this by offering interoperability profiles based on IEEE and IETF standards, as well as an independent certification program. Certification means that a product has been tested for conformance to the relevant protocol standards so third-party vendors can demonstrate their interoperability with other vendors. Interoperability unlocks many benefits for utilities, such as reducing supply chain risk, avoiding vendor lock-in, reducing costs, and enabling a diverse ecosystem of IoT sensors and devices for multiple applications.
In a survey of utilities worldwide, the Wi-SUN Alliance found that when implementing IoT initiatives and processes, one of the top drivers was to improve network intelligence and connectivity for citizen safety and quality of life. Facilitating these improvements is the overarching goal of the Alliance, and a driving force behind the ongoing work of its members to advance open interoperability standards. As a Promoter Member of the Alliance, Landis+Gyr is one of ten companies that currently have a seat on the board of directors. We also serve in the executive officer position of Secretary and have active roles in the Alliance’s technical working groups and marketing teams. Collaborating closely with other members, we work to accelerate open standards development to keep pace with rapidly evolving interoperability requirements.
Embracing the Wi-SUN standards for planning or advancing utility IoT and smart city initiatives gives utilities the certainty of network interoperability today and ensures a path to continued interoperability to support future use cases such as smart street lighting, traffic signals, public transit signs, more efficient parking management, availability of charging stations for electrical vehicles, and more. With standards-based interoperable profiles and third-party certification, the Wi-SUN Alliance is paving the way to fully realizing the current and future benefits of these use cases.
The interoperability on-ramp to edge intelligence
Network interoperability is even more important and valuable for utilities now. Energy resources and uses are evolving. Consumers have greater energy awareness than ever before. Environmental sustainability is a key goal. Driven by these forces, the energy model has become an interactive partnership between utilities and their customers. Unlocking the potential of this new energy model requires true interoperability of edge sensing devices with the utility’s AMI infrastructure and analytics applications. This interoperability is ensured by Wi-SUN Field Area Network (FAN) standards certification today and protected by a commitment to advancing those standards to address evolving industry requirements in the future. Supported use cases include integrating and managing distributed energy resources, improving outage management and restoration, implementing emerging business models, and addressing regulatory requirements for consumer engagement.
Landis+Gyr and Wi-SUN interoperability fueling the world’s largest IoT and smart city initiative
The same underlying standards of Wi-SUN FAN provide the foundation for the largest utility IoT network of its kind in the world. Currently being deployed by Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), the network will connect close to 30 million utility and consumer devices using Wi-SUN compatible RF mesh network technology. By building on a standards-based interoperable platform, the TEPCO project secures the utility’s smart grid investments by ensuring that multiple manufacturers’ equipment and technologies can be leveraged now and in the future – supporting the solution as it evolves, benefitting end users with greater price competition, and enabling new smart city applications as they arise.