Smart Grid and Smart Home Technologies Gain Momentum

Intelligent monitoring and management of energy usage is an area of high activity at the present time, with many “smart grid” conferences, research projects and early implementation of operating systems. In addition, in-home management of additional functions for security, and safety, as well as comfort and energy usage, is undergoing similar development. There are many common aspects that connect these two activities, since many of the household management functions involve electrical appliances and electronic communications. In current research and implementation, the electric power distribution system is the common element. Smart meters gather usage data and deliver it to the electric utilities. They also can (or will soon) control some of the devices in the home, with the goal of conserving energy by reducing unnecessary usage. These efforts are of great interest to the high frequency industry because most of the communications among the devices and systems being managed will be wireless or RF-based wireline. Various systems are being developed, or proposed, that utilize the existing “cell phone” infrastructure, Wi-Fi, power line communications (PLC), and proprietary networks using both licensed and unlicensed bands, including new 700 MHz spectrum and TV white space channels.