Smart grid technologies and standardization are gaining momentum and TMC CEO Rich Tehrani got to sit down with one of the major players in the space, QualityLogic, Inc., as part of the recent On the Road series in San Jose, CA. Quality Logic is a 25-year-old company that develops products and services primarily for the consumer electronics and telecommunications space.
The company got involved in the smart grid arena about three years ago, according to Dave Jollota, president and CEO of QualityLogic. Their main function has been to ensure the interoperability of various disparate devices.
“The biggest attraction to us is that companies are beginning to look at standardized protocols,” said Jollota. He added that utility companies have had proprietary interoperability protocols for years but they have begun looking at standardized protocols thanks to guidance from the federal government. Around 120 protocols have been initially identified as important for the smart grid, and Jollota said a number of standards bodies and alliances have been formed in recent years to ensure their protocols don’t get left behind.
“To us, it’s all about getting information to consumers,” said Jollota. He said there are three major initiatives the company is involved with to help educate everyone from manufactures to consumers. The first involves sending incentive signals from energy wholesalers to retailers. The second is the openADR Alliance project (http://www.openadr.org/), formed to accelerate the development, adoption and compliance of Open ADR standards throughout the industry. ADR stands for automation of design response. The third project involves working on the ZigBee Smart Energy 2.0 standard for interoperable products, designed to easily deliver compliant products from utilities to consumers.
Jollota added that as government funding of smart grid projects begins to wane, he believes private industry will need to step up and make their own investments, and he sees that happening in the near future. In the meantime, the company plans to continue developing test solutions to aid device manufacturers in the evolution of the smart grid.
According to QualityLogic, the smart grid requires a rich set of technologies, protocols, APIs and even proprietary technologies to function correctly. In light of that, all components must interoperate in order to achieve the energy saving goals of the smart grid system. QualityLogic offers smart grid test tools and services as well as technology certification testing to help developers and manufacturers achieve those goals.