Standards alliance tackles stubborn home energy interoperability challenge

Standards alliance tackles stubborn home energy interoperability challenge


By: SGN Staff

Quick Take: As we say over and over, standards don't necessarily equal interoperability. Nowhere is that more true than in the home energy management space which either has too few standards or too many, depending on who you ask. Either way, the home energy standards to date have NOT resulted in anything anywhere near plug-and-play compatibility.


Now the Energy Information Standards (EIS) Alliance is courageously thrusting itself into the breach. Looking at its member list, we wonder if they have enough players and segments on board to really pull it off. What's more, we're concerned that they are stressing "an abstraction that allows for... communication." The industry has plenty of abstractions and distractions. What it needs more is on-the-ground interoperability testing and certification, so buyers can tell at a glance which devices are guaranteed to work together. Still, we wish them well. The home energy market has so many challenges. We're in favor of anything that can lower the hurdles. - Jesse Berst


One of the bigger elephants in the room for home energy management is communications, or better said, the lack of communications. There is no guarantee products from different manufacturers will be interoperable or that they will be interoperable with the electric grid. If they can't work together or with the grid, they aren't much use to consumers.


The Energy Information Standards Alliance, formed to further the cause of interoperability, energy efficiency and security, is pushing for the development and adoption of and compliance with customer energy management systems standards, is working with industry partners to solve those interoperability issues.


The EIS Alliance says the different manufacturers and groups use different ways to signal equipment energy use, resources and availability. Also, companies are often reluctant to share detailed information about their products with equipment from other manufacturers or outside service providers. Those different ways of doing basically the same thing, along with the reluctance to share product information, generally prevents them from working together.