By: Joe Ballif, Product Manager at Itron | Chair of the Zigbee PRO Energy Marketing Working Group for the Zigbee Alliance
Smart Energy by the Zigbee Alliance is a secure, wireless protocol designed to enable utilities to improve energy availability and reliability, and empower consumers to better understand their energy consumption habits. With over 100 million Smart Energy Certified electric and gas meters installed across the Great Britain and the United States1, Smart Energy by the Zigbee Alliance has become the most important smart grid energy management protocol on the market today.
Why is everyone using Smart Energy by the Zigbee Alliance?
Devices Certified by the Zigbee Alliance to the Smart Energy standard use a wireless, low-power communication technology that connects energy infrastructure (like electric and gas smart meters) to thermostats, appliances, energy dashboards and many other energy management devices. Developed by the Zigbee Alliance’s global membership, including major energy infrastructure companies, Smart Energy is an open standard that enables implementers to access new markets, and create a competitive ecosystem that drives innovation and lowers costs.
Smart Energy by the Zigbee Alliance allows utilities and energy services providers to easily deploy residential and commercial sensors, controls, and consumer engagement devices at the point of delivery, and connect them to the millions of smart meters that have been deployed over the last decade. This infrastructure enables energy providers to:
- Communicate dynamic pricing for electricity, gas, and water
- Schedule control activity for thermostats
- Manage load control relays and building automation systems
- Give customers real-time access to electricity, gas and water metering data
- And more.
As part of the Great Britain Smart Energy rollout, and replacement of decades-old utility meters, utilities will gain more accurate and frequent energy usage reporting. This dramatically-increased access to real-time information will drive improvements in energy availability and reliability. Smart meters and the Smart Energy connectivity they incorporate will also allow consumers to take greater ownership of their consumption habits by collecting and giving them access to easy-to-read information about their real-time usage, and enable them to automate energy savings through connected devices like thermostats and appliances. The result? Less energy used and more money saved for both providers and users.
How utilities use Smart Energy by Zigbee Alliance to solve their unique challenges and address a changing market
Utilities hold great responsibility to provide the energy we rely on for nearly every task in our daily lives, and face increasing challenges to be effective stewards of earth’s resources.
Each utility that has deployed Zigbee Smart Energy devices is able to harness the capabilities of the protocol to best address their unique challenges, and rapidly adapt to a changing market. With the growing popularity and increasing capabilities of home automation systems, there is now great potential for more meaningful customer engagement and participation, helping customers save money and actively participate in reducing natural resource waste, while enabling utilities to manage energy production and help solve their challenges.
Stay tuned for my next blog, in which I will share specific use cases from utilities and Smart Energy vendors that are helping them save money, energy and natural resources.
Get Smart Energy Certified: http://www.zigbee.org/zigbee-for-developers/zigbee-certification/
Learn more about Smart Energy technology: http://www.zigbee.org/zigbee-for-developers/smart-energy/
 See here for North America and here for UK. Note that UK is unique in that each home has a communications hub (a standalone network coordinator/Energy Service Interface), an electric meter, and a gas meter. The consumer can then request an IHD. That means four different Zigbee Smart Energy devices and two meters per home.