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Firms combine to help smart meter interoperability

Landmark move aims to assist compliance with EU directive

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The advent of the smart grid in Europe and the US is of particular interest to Middle Eastern utilities.
The advent of the smart grid in Europe and the US is of particular interest to Middle Eastern utilities.

Three leading meter manufacturers – Iskraemco, Itron and Landis+Gyr – have completed a testing phase that proves each firm’s smart meters are fully interoperable with meters built by the other two companies.

The move is a major development in the smart meter market, and stands to answer a call from the major utilities to provide universal definitions and communications standards.

Interfaces on the three companies’ smart meters allow customers to mix and match different suppliers and should boost the development of smart grid applications. The scope covers a full end-to-end solution, from the Home Area Network to the Wide Area Network and the interface to utilities existing IT infrastructure.

Iskraemeco, Itron and Landis+Gyr believe that the initiative paves the way towards the deployment of smart metering in line with the recently passed EU electricity market Directive, which dictates that 80% of EU households must be fitted with smart meters by 2020.

"The development of these interface specifications is important to the utility industry because it will allow for true interoperability and enable customers to invest with confidence" said Oliver Iltisberger, senior vice president Energy Management Units for Landis+Gyr.

"Up to now we were mainly engaged in defining standards. This additional effort is necessary to convert these standards into truly interoperable products."

To accelerate the objective, the companies have each started prototyping their application interface development in compliance with interoperable device interface specifications (IDIS) to be completed by the end of this year. This will facilitate the creation of a true plug-and-play environment for the future.

According to a former US Energy Department official, the advent of the smart grid has a particular application in the Middle East, where relatively new or non-existent infrastructure can be more easily renovated to include new technologies than elsewhere in the world.

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