When Frank Sinatra sang “I Did It My Way,” the lyrics resonated with audiences worldwide. Whether you are a crooner from Hoboken or a utility manager from Houston, you want to be able to make your own choices. Now, to satisfy that need, savvy marketers in the smart grid industry have begun delivering networks that work with their customers’ system architecture and goals, instead of requiring client-side compliance. The networks come with many communications options, true interoperability, and support for applications developed worldwide.
Not to be left out, Liberty Lake, Wash.-based Itron .has announced that its OpenWay smart grid network is now available on a global scale. OpenWay is an advanced IP network that supports multiple smart grid applications and devices over an interoperable, secure, enterprise-class network infrastructure. The network addresses the key drivers and business needs of utilities around the globe—from improvement in grid reliability to support for consumer engagement and energy efficiency.
Itron's global OpenWay network connects utilities with their customers and grid assets using multiple communication options—from RF Mesh, to cellular and power line carrier (PLC) —based on localized protocols and standards. The OpenWay communication network is managed under Itron's unified data collection and management platform; streamlining the meter-to-cash business process, regardless of communication method.
The OpenWay network also features Itron and Cisco's (News - Alert) jointly designed IPv6 reference architecture to ensure device interoperability and multi-service operations using common information technology tools along with unified network security architecture.
The Connected Grid Network Management System, also from San Jose, Calif.-based Cisco, provides enterprise-class network management for all field area devices, ensuring business functions adhere to established quality of service levels. This results in a network architecture that is highly scalable, secure and adaptable to changing needs.
OpenWay features data collection, network and asset monitoring, and control capabilities that, when combined with Itron Analytics—and with either Itron or third-party devices and applications—provide a powerful suite of smart grid applications (for example, distribution automation, demand response and grid-connected renewables.
The advanced architecture provides Itron with the ability to embed its OpenWay communications technology into third-party devices for both grid- and customer-facing applications. Itron also combines OpenWay with comprehensive managed services to simplify deployment and reduce the overall total cost of ownership for utilities.
The OpenWay network also leverages the broader Cisco Connected Grid Developer Network, which represents a growing ecosystem of technology providers, spanning the entire smart grid value chain. This provides utilities with a broad portfolio of technology choices to enable a "best of breed" approach to deploying smart grid applications over a common network infrastructure.
"Itron is first to market and the only solution provider that offers utilities their choice of multiple communications options over a common IPv6 architecture jointly developed with Cisco. This enables us to offer true plug-and-play interoperability on a global basis," said Mark de Vere White, president of Itron's Electricity business unit. "OpenWay technology is now deployed on four continents worldwide and we are building upon its well-established success in North America to set a new standard for smart grid networks on a global basis."
With nearly 15 million smart meters and network devices installed and operating under OpenWay networks, Itron has successfully completed several large-scale deployments at leading utilities in North America to support a wide range of capabilities and business case outcomes.
Edited by Alisen Downey