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TrackX Holdings, Impinj partner on enterprise asset-management solutions ••• Zigbee Alliance selected for smart-meter rollout to every home in Great Britain ••• Waltonchain chooses Silictec RFID chips for IoT ••• Dell Technologies, Microsoft collaborate on IoT solutions ••• SML RFID to showcase its tags, software for retail ••• KeyMe wins multi-year agreement with Albertsons for RFID keys.
By Rich Handley

Zigbee Alliance Selected for Smart-Meter Rollout to Every Home in Great Britain

The Zigbee Alliance, an organization of companies that create, maintain and provide energy-efficient, open global standards for the Internet of Things (IoT), has opened certification for its updated Smart Energy 1.4 application standard. This new certification program is intended to address the functionality needs that arose from Great Britain's decision to mandate that all energy suppliers offer smart meters to every home by 2020—a total of 26 million potential installations.

According to a report from Smart Energy Great Britain, there is rising national public awareness regarding the benefits of smart meters, from increasing billing accuracy to contributing to communities' overall environmental efforts. The report states that 80 percent of smart-meter customers have taken steps to reduce their energy usage, while more than 68 percent say they feel more conscious about their energy use.

To address this growing public awareness, Great Britain required a solution that would be adaptable and easy to implement on a large scale. Technologies conforming to the Smart Energy by the Zigbee Alliance standard—established for interoperable products that monitor, control, inform and automate the delivery and use of electricity, gas and water—were chosen for the project.

Technology certified through the Smart Energy Certification Program can take advantage of the benefits inherent in dual-band frequency capabilities. Enabling sub-GHz functionality enhances the performance of smart meters and energy-management devices, the organization explains, thus allowing operation at farther distances and through more RF-challenging building materials. This addition to the Smart Energy Certification Program allows the Zigbee Alliance to accredit products with the ability to meet regional frequency requirements, thereby extending connectivity options.

The benefits of introducing simultaneous operation on sub-GHz and 2.4 GHz bands into certification for the Smart Energy 1.4 standard include intelligent energy management, smart energy metering, increased savings for utilities and consumers, a competitive marketplace with multiple vendors, a reduction of emissions footprint, low-energy housing and smart urban networks.

Several utilities, energy service providers, product manufacturers and technology companies have already deployed Certified Smart Energy products, and support its continued development as members of the Alliance. These include BC Hydro, EDMI, General Electric, Honeywell, Itron, Landis+Gyr, LG, Pacific Gas & Electric, Panasonic, Schneider Electric, Smart Meter Texas and Toshiba. As a global, open standard, Smart Energy supports a competitive marketplace of multiple vendors, lowering costs and saving billions of dollars worldwide.

"Smart Energy delivers many benefits for its users," said Victor Berrios, the Zigbee Alliance's VP of technology, in a prepared statement. "With Smart Energy Certified meters and consumption devices, our members empower utilities and consumers with the data necessary to make informed decisions about energy usage and help them meet worldwide energy challenges today and tomorrow."

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