SAN JOSE, Calif. – Four groups agreed to form a new body to certify products based on the emerging Smart Energy Profile 2.0 (SEP 2) geared for delivering smart grid information to home networks.
The HomePlug Alliance, Wi-Fi Alliance, HomeGrid Forum and ZigBee Alliance jointly will create the Consortium for SEP 2 Interoperability and have invited other trade associations to join the effort. The groups represent four home network technologies supported on top of the Internet Protocol as part of the SEP 2 specification.
The new body will define joint certification and test
programs used to certify wireless and wired devices that support IP-based smart
energy applications and devices such as thermostats, appliances and gateways. The
programs will address devices operating on one or more of the home nets SEP 2
SEP 2 was selected in 2009 by the U.S. National Institute of
Standards and Technology (NIST) as a standard profile for smart energy
management in home devices. It is an upgrade of a first-generation standard
that only supported ZigBee and did not support IP.
The SEP 2 spec is currently in a draft 0.7 version due to be
voted on later this month at the ZigBee Alliance which is hosting the development
of the standard. Bob Heile, chair of the ZigBee Alliance, said the spec could
be in a 0.9 version before the end of the year, effectively ready to implement in
prototype chips and systems for field trials.
Millions of smart meters have already shipped using ZigBee
and the SEP 1 spec, Heile said. However many smart grid deployments are waiting
on the SEP 2 spec to leverage its support for IP and multiple home networks,
according to several sources.
Earlier this year, some sources complained of delays when a second software stack was added to the requirements for SEP 2. "We're going to move this to completion as soon as possible," said Heile.
The Smart Grid Interoperability Panel, a broad industry group convened by NIST, has outlined an upgrade path from SEP 1 to SEP 2 under its so-called PAP-18 project.
"The smart grid will be comprised of all types of devices connecting in many different ways, and we must ensure those devices interoperate and communicate seamlessly, regardless of how they connect," said Edgar Figueroa, chief executive of the Wi-Fi Alliance, speaking in a prepared statement.
"We believe SEP 2 will be an important factor in ensuring that wired and wireless technologies combine together to deliver Smart Grid and other services inside and outside the home," said Matt Theall, president of HomeGrid Forum which works on G.hn home net technology.
HomePlug, the other group backing the certification body, works on powerline technology.