Electrical Power & Protection

Siemens’ smart connectivity solution for multi-dwelling environments

April 2014 Electrical Power & Protection

The implementation of smart meters and smart grid services is becoming increasingly important to the delivery of global carbon and demand reduction targets. Real time access to data to drive behavioural change, responsiveness to price signals and linkage to smart appliances can only be achieved through effective smart device connectivity within the home. Such devices include gas and electric smart meters, in home displays, home energy controllers and communication hubs.

In the UK, Siemens has established that the large apartment building, also known as multi-dwelling units (MDUs), cause a particular problem to smart device connectivity. This is because of the distance between devices, building fabric issues (such as reinforced concrete floors) and ‘difficult’ meter locations, all of which provide radio connectivity challenges.

Working with key development partners, Siemens has solved this challenge with a unique ‘shared infrastructure’ solution, utilising a Broadband-over-Power Line (BPL) backbone provided by Power Plus Communications (PPC) to integrate with wireless radio technology and enable standard smart meters to be installed, commissioned and connected to a WAN gateway. This solution is scheduled for field trials in the United Kingdom in early 2014. Siemens believes that smart metering deployments in a number of European countries, and others worldwide, may also benefit from such a shared infrastructure approach.

Without such a solution, energy suppliers will be forced to install additional infrastructure representing poor value for money and generating unnecessary tenant and landlord disruption.

Multi-dwelling unit solution

The MDU solution will provide a fully managed communication infrastructure for any high/medium/low rise or ‘difficult’ building, to be used by smart energy devices. The key service requirements may be summarised as:

* Provide an easy to use communication infrastructure to be accessed by existing smart energy devices.

* Integrate into energy retailer systems and processes.

* Fully secure with appropriate access.

* Commercially and technically interoperable.

Extending the range for all smart energy devices in the building

The MDU high-rise solution provides a communication infrastructure to be used by smart energy devices and by energy suppliers through an external WAN interface. The solution provides an extension of normal WAN range via power line repeaters, allowing all the smart energy devices in the building to operate as if they are within its own RF range. The RF range is extended over existing power lines within the building. The interface to these power lines is through PPC’s BPL router/gateway and the interface to the smart energy devices is via the ZigBee Bridge.

The solution is presently designed to meet the UK’s Smart Metering Equipment standards – ensuring that standard equipment will be fully operable in MDUs as with any other type of property. In addition the modular design lends itself to adaption for other markets.

In the MDU high rise solution, there is a need to manage and configure individual hardware devices present in the network. The solution will provide a single network management system which will have a remote graphical interface to configure and manage the details and operation of each hardware device within the network. The network management system will provide access to both the shared infrastructure and the smart end devices and will allow multiple users each having different roles, privileges and access to the system.

Solution variants

The ability of the communications infrastructure to process IP based messaging and the communications end point capable of receiving and rebroadcasting these messages allows any wireless communication to be supported by the shared infrastructure. Currently, the communications backbone and endpoint devices support ZigBee and ZigBee Smart Energy 1.x. Substitution of the ZigBee based solution with a wireless M-Bus is a straightforward exercise. Although similar, the services offered by M-Bus will differ from those available using ZigBee.

Where building fabric will not allow the penetration of a radio signal, the bridging capabilities of the MDU solution allows any IP capable physical medium to be used to transport messages from a receiver to an appropriate rebroadcast point. A typical solution will use Broadband over Power Line (BPL) for the shared backbone but could equally use fibre or other communication cables.

The shared infrastructure can also be extended to support the building control centre to allow backhaul of data collection to a remote data centre.

For more information contact Keshin Govender, Siemens Southern Africa, +27 (0)11 652 2412, keshin.govender@siemens.com, www.siemens.co.za


Share this article:
Share via emailShare via LinkedInPrint this page

Further reading:

UPS with integrated power supply and USB interface
June 2019, Phoenix Contact , Electrical Power & Protection
Supplying critical DC loads safely, increased system availability, confined spaces, and tough ambient conditions present system designers and operators with a variety of challenges.

Siemens and Iraqi government sign roadmap agreement
June 2019, Siemens Digital Industries , News
In a move that takes the roadmap for rebuilding Iraq’s power sector a step further, Siemens and the Ministry of Electricity of the Republic of Iraq have signed an implementation agreement. This builds ...

Siemens launches Atlas of Digitalisation
June 2019, Siemens Digital Industries , News
Siemens has launched a new web-based application that reveals the readiness and potential of six major cities to embrace digitalisation and develop new ways of living, working and interacting. The Atlas ...

Siemens extends the Simine ­portfolio
June 2019, Siemens Digital Industries , PLCs, DCSs & Controllers
Siemens has extended the Simine portfolio for high-pressure grinding mills (HPGR) to include a new controller. Plug-and-play functionality makes the load share controller available for immediate use. ...

Faster results with a digital twin
June 2019, Siemens Digital Industries , IT in Manufacturing
The high-tech company Grenzebach’s portfolio includes the simulation of material flow in complex plants in the glass industry, which it achieves using Siemens simulation solutions. Together, the two companies ...

Power analysis and energy saving evolved
June 2019, HellermannTyton , Electrical Power & Protection
Advanced power and energy consumption analysis is now available using a smartphone or tablet. The TPQA820 is a true RMS, self-powered 3-phase power quality analyser used to analyse and record the most ...

Zest helps farmers find good ‘ground’
June 2019, Zest WEG Group , Electrical Power & Protection
According to Zest WEG Group, there are misconceptions around what constitutes ‘earth’ and ‘neutral’ connections, and not understanding the differences can create serious problems when connections are ...

BMG enhances efficiency of solar tracking system
June 2019, Bearing Man Group t/a BMG , Electrical Power & Protection
BMG has extended the supply of Varvel gearboxes for small and medium power applications to include customised worm gearboxes for installation in photovoltaic solar tracking systems. “As part of BMG’s ...

RS Components introduces new Power over Ethernet injectors
June 2019, RS Components SA , Electrical Power & Protection
RS Components has announced availability of a new selection of Power over Ethernet (PoE) single-port mid-span power injectors manufactured by Phihong, a leader in advanced power solutions and a specialist ...

Cathay Industrial Biotech benefits from Siemens technology
May 2019, Siemens Digital Industries , IT in Manufacturing
Cathay Industrial Biotech (Cathay) is China’s leader in the field of bio-manufacturing. Its areas of expertise include producing polyamide from biomass, which takes place in a totally digital plant using ...