Automated Meter Reading and Load Shed System
Problem: A manufacturer of cable TV systems wanted to provide a system that would allow a utility company to be able to read the power meters and control the power consumption (load control) using their cable plant as the communications medium. The system would communicate to a given house through the CATV system and then be sent to the client devices using the home power lines so that no additional wiring would be required. Solution: We developed a gateway that would interface the CATV signals to either of the prevalent power line technologies used in home automation, LonWorks and CeBUS. Since network management functions would be required, we also developed a set of programming API's that were used to implement the network management software on Unix based servers that were located at the cable plant head end. Within the home the gateway communicates over the power line using either the narrow band LonWorks power line technology or CeBus's spread spectrum technology. Both technologies were required since specific utilities had already made commitments to a particular technology. The system interfaces with Honeywell thermostats and various LonWorks and CeBus electric meters. We also developed load shed devices that could be connected to high energy loads within a home so that the utility could control their consumption. Home Automation System
Problem: Our customer provided home automation systems that allowed the home owner to electronically control his lighting and other energy consumption. The only problem was that their system used a proprietary communications technology that required new wiring to be pulled within the home so that it might be installed. This severely limited the target market to only new build homes. Further, the system was difficult to maintain and costly. Solution: Group Alpha developed a new system based on LonWorks power line communications. The resulting system...
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