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Silver Spring Networks smart grid strategy revealed in latest announcements

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By Jesse Berst

 

Silver Spring Networks has always been a thought leader. In the very earliest days of the smart grid, SSN was a lonely voice in the wilderness, calling out the virtues of IPv6, RF mesh and other concepts we now take for granted.

 

Like every other smart grid company, SSN is making several announcements at this year's DistribuTECH conference. I thought it would be helpful to pull back the covers to reveal where SSN's thoughts may be leading us next. As I reviewed the four announcements described below, I saw three important themes:

1.     Utilities are ready to do more with their communications networks

2.     The power of platform partnerships

3.     The move from an energy network to an "everything network"

 

The first theme is well recognized by most utilities. The second is just now reaching the tipping point. And the third has barely begun to penetrate but will – I predict – become increasingly important.

 

Transformer monitoring

Developed in partnership with Elster, SSN's new transformer monitoring solution gives utilities real-time visibility into the performance of their distribution and substation transformers. Basically, Elster is popping an SSN communications module into its A3 Alpha meter for distribution transformers. Even if the utility does not have AMI, it can now gain transformer-level visibility for applications such as conservation voltage reduction (CVR) and theft detection.

 

This announcement underlines that utilities are ready to do more with their communications networks than just smart metering. As SSN's EVP of Products Anil Gadre explained to me, "It's now time. Utilities have finally digested their AMI systems and they are ready to find new ways to get value from the network." And thanks to last year's Gen4 update, SSN networks have the headroom to handle multiple apps.

Silver Spring Networks Introduces Next-Generation Smart Grid Solutions
Atop One Network Platform

Silver Spring Showcases Innovative New Applications
and Expanded Ecosystem at Utility Market’s Largest Smart Grid Expo

DistribuTECH Conference & Exhibition, San Diego CA – January 29, 2013 – Today at the utility industry’s leading smart grid conference and exposition, Silver Spring Networks extended its Smart Energy Platform with new Demand Side Management and Distribution Automation solutions, and expanded the tools, services and membership of its broad partner ecosystem. Silver Spring, a leading networking platform and solutions provider for smart energy networks, has connected more than 13 million homes and businesses worldwide with its IPv6 networking platform. Silver Spring is now extending its high-performance IPv6 networking platform to establish a communications and monitoring foundation for a variety of Smart City solutions as more devices become connected to the Everything Networkâ„¢. 

 

“Silver Spring’s open IPv6 networking platform enables utilities to unlock more value from their smart grid investments through the rapid deployment of many next-generation applications such as high-precision Demand Response, transformer monitoring, automated analytics and more,” said Scott Lang, Chairman, President & CEO, Silver Spring Networks.  “Building on our heritage of successfully designing, deploying and operating massive-scale outdoor networks, we are also seeing new and exciting Smart City applications such as intelligent street lighting as we pave the way on the road to the Everything Network.”

 

Key highlights of Silver Spring’s news at DistribuTech 2013 include:

 

End-to-End DSM Portfolio

Today Silver Spring expanded its Demand Side Management (DSM) portfolio with the introduction of the new UtilityIQâ„¢ Demand Optimizer solution, an innovative Demand Response Management System that helps utilities manage peak load, implement real-time demand response initiatives, and optimize load across all DR programs and customer segments.  Silver Spring’s end-to-end DSM portfolio helps utilities who are increasingly looking to DSM programs and technologies to increase customer satisfaction, meet more stringent regulatory requirements, reduce peak consumption, manage new sources of demand and generation, and improve their bottom lines. To read today’s complete announcement visit www.silverspringnet.com/newsevents/demandoptimizer.

 

Advanced Distribution Automation Solutions

Today Silver Spring further extended its Distribution Automation (DA) portfolio by unveiling a new Transformer Monitoring solution providing utilities real-time visibility into the performance of their distribution and substation transformers. Real-time transformer-level monitoring of temperature, current, and voltage enables utilities to pinpoint problem spots on the grid, proactively minimizing outages, and identify both technical and non-technical losses, improving energy efficiency.  Utilities deploying DA solutions atop a standards-based network that also supports advanced metering (AMI) and other smart grid initiatives benefit from significant capital and operational savings. Silver Spring’s DA offerings also include advanced fault location grid sensors, secure IPv6-based bridges, a turn-key Conservation Voltage Reduction (CVR) solution, a power monitoring application, and network automation software. To read today’s complete announcement visit www.silverspringnet.com/newsevents/transformer monitoring.

 

Expanding Silver Spring’s Broad Open Ecosystem

Today Silver Spring announced that it is delivering new tools and services to speed integration testing for partners and welcomed many new members to the global Silver Spring Partner Program.  Silver Spring’s open standards leadership provides customers extensive choice and has enabled utilities of all sizes and across all geographies to deploy the widest array of smart grid applications atop a common platform. Silver Spring and more than 30 of its partners are showcasing their innovations at DistribuTECH 2013. To read the complete announcement visit www.silverspringnet.com/newsevents/partnergrowth.

Intelligent Streetlights: Smart City Solutions for the ‘Everything Network’

Silver Spring recently announced a strategic partnership with Streetlight.Vision, the leader in streetlight control and monitoring software, to deliver a Smart City solution enabling operators to more efficiently and reliably operate their lighting networks while creating a city-wide IPv6-based communications and monitoring network for any other city equipment, including traffic light control, parking meters, environmental sensors, and the broader range of Smart City infrastructure. Silver Spring’s proven IPv6 networking platform and extensive experience designing and operating massive-scale outdoor networks under the most demanding conditions position it well to expand support for a variety of Smart City applications. Silver Spring and Streetlight.Vision have already demonstrated the efficacy of the solutions in the field and are targeting lighting operators globally who are looking to more effectively manage their public lighting infrastructure and reduce streetlight energy consumption. To read the complete announcement visit www.silverspringnet.com/newsevents/streetlights.

 

To learn more about these next-generation technologies and more visit Silver Spring at DistribuTECH 2013 at Booth # 1412, Exhibit Hall G.

 

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About Silver Spring Networks
Silver Spring Networks is a leading networking platform and solutions provider for smart energy networks.  With its pioneering IPv6 networking platform, Silver Spring has connected more than 13 million homes and businesses throughout the world with the goal of achieving greater energy efficiency for the planet. Silver Spring’s innovative products enable utilities to gain efficiencies, integrate renewable energy sources, and empower customers to monitor and manage energy consumption.  Silver Spring Networks is used by major utilities around the globe including Baltimore Gas & Electric, CitiPower & Powercor, Commonwealth Edison, CPFL Energia, Florida Power & Light, Jemena Electricity Networks Limited, Oklahoma Gas & Electric, Pacific Gas & Electric, and Pepco Holdings, Inc. among others. For more information please visit www.silverspringnet.com.