SAN JOSE, Calif. The Bluetooth Special Interest Group has formed a Smart Energy Study Group to explore application in smart electric grids. CSR, Broadcom and Emerson Electric are the initial members of the group.
The study group will explore possible applications of Bluetooth in all aspects of the smart energy market. It will form a market and technology strategy for Bluetooth Smart Energy and make recommendations based on its findings.
"Wireless technology is a key component of the battle to improve the smart grid," said Michael Foley, executive director of the Bluetooth SIG. "With proper short-distance wireless connectivity technology, the meter-to-device relationship will be one that allows users to remotely track, monitor, and adjust their energy use based on utility scales," he said, speaking in a press statement.
Eighteen million homes—13 percent of all U.S. households--will get smart electric meters within three years as part of $3.4 billion in U.S. government grants announced in October. Deployments of smart electricity meters worldwide will rise from 76 million in 2009 to reach about 212 million in 2014, according to a report from ABI Research.
So far Bluetooth takes a distant back seat to Zigbee and powerline in today's smart grid products. The vast majority of so-called smart meters ship with Zigbee wireless networking technology embedded. Zigbee and powerline are part of the network-agnostic Smart Energy 2.0 profile utilities such as Pacific Gas and Electric has helped develop.
The SIG notes in its press release that Bluetooth dominates as a short-range wireless technology in mobile phones, devices likely to be used to remotely monitoring and control home energy use in the future. The group suggests its Bluetooth low energy specification adopted in December is suited for in-home meters and monitors.
"We have the opportunity to make a difference in the way our country and the world controls energy use and it's imperative that we do all we can to integrate wireless technology into the mix--it will not only benefit the wireless market, but it has the potential to revolutionize the clean energy market as well," said Foley.