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Aetheros looks to add edge intelligence to US smart meter market

Scalable, open IoT operating system introduced to US market to unlock distributed intelligence at the edge

IoT operating system provider Aetheros has entered the US market to power the next wave of smart meter deployments with distributed intelligence.

As demand for renewable energy, battery storage and electric vehicles grows, AOS is designed to enable an open ecosystem for secure edge applications and smart meters that addresses the changing needs of electricity throughout the US.

To meet new smart meter requirements, Aetheros said many US utilities are seeking to add analytics and control at the edge of their distribution network to enable the open integration and support of renewable energy sources and electric vehicles, while improving their operational efficiencies and customer satisfaction. Doing so will require an IoT service layer, and Aetheros claims to provide the only open, proven and scalable offering.

Already commercially deployed across Australia and New Zealand, and processing more than one billion meter reads daily, the Aether Operating System (AOS) provides a oneM2M-compliant IoT Service Layer for distributed intelligence at the edge. oneM2M is a global partnership project founded in 2012 and constituted by eight ICT standards development organisations. The standards are the result of collaboration among more than 200 companies across industries, including utilities, telecommunications, transportation and agriculture.

“Our smart meter networking software, field proven with more than 15 years of deployment in Australia and New Zealand, has accelerated innovation by enabling distributed edge intelligence in the most advanced utility markets in the world,” said Ray Bell, founder of Aetheros, former CEO and co-founder of Silver Spring Networks and CEO and founder of Grid Net.

“For years, we’ve enabled our customers to deploy analytics and control at the edge of their distribution network to detect conditions such as floating neutral, high and low voltage, and frequency imbalances, and to implement advanced services like virtual power plants and dynamic volt/var control.

“AOS allows utilities to improve safety and distribution efficiencies, lower operating costs, raise customer satisfaction, and deliver new smart energy services,” he said. “With the second wave of replacement smart meter deployments underway, now is the time to bring our AOS product portfolio to utilities in North America.”

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Bell said that working with a team of Silicon Valley colleagues he shaped the first wave of IP networking and smart meter technologies in the US, and they are now using their knowledge, expertise and proven track record in Australia and New Zealand to guide US utilities during the next wave of smart meter deployments. “The first deployments of smart meters in the US were all about time of use billing and using demand response programs to offset the need to build more generation capacity,” he said. “Today’s requirements are much more complex.

“Utilities need to use distributed edge analytics and control to build a more efficient and diverse smart energy ecosystem,” said Bell. “These needs cannot be met with single vendor walled garden approaches. There’s an urgent need in the utility industry for an open standards-based IoT Service Layer that allows market innovation to flow freely.”

Through AOS’s open IoT Service Layer, users can build, deploy and manage IoT networks and edge applications and services using the hardware and software of their choice. As AOS grows across North America, the company said utilities and their suppliers alike will have the freedom to innovate at the grid edge and unlock a wide, new range of smart energy service opportunities.

Key features include the ability to enable a transactive, distributed energy market. Energy providers can build applications that facilitate the buying and selling of energy resources. Consumers with solar panels and batteries, for instance, could sell excess energy in the open energy market and provide critical grid services.

In what may address a current hot area in connectivity, AOS is seen as being able to accelerate Industrial IoT. Edge devices can collect data from industrial equipment to filter, prioritise and process OT data. With AOS, industrial operations can quickly build new IIoT distributed intelligence applications to communicate with factory infrastructure in near-real time.

With AOS, users can balance power based on distributed resources authenticated edge applications to access cumulative and instantaneous smart metering data, enabling local demand response and load management decisions. For example, Aetheros said utilities can utilise analytics and control within their smart meters to locally monitor and manage the customer’s solar inverters, batteries and smart appliances to create Virtual Power Plants (VPP) that curtail energy demand or help balance the distribution grid.

Another key use case could be advance EV charging infrastructure. EV charging station operators can optimise their buy/sell transactions based on market and local distribution network supply conditions, as well as participate in demand response and VPP programs. EV drivers can remotely communicate via their mobile phone with charging stations along their route and reserve a charge point in advance which only works with their vehicle at the allotted start time window. 

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