In depth: M2M and the IEEE Standards Association

IEEE has created new standards to help integrate smart home automation technologies with smart meters

While we have made key progress in smart meter and smart grid communications in markets around the world, we still have to keep moving forward, writes Konstantinos Karachalios of IEEE Standards Association (IEEE-SA).

Important steps in standardization are being undertaken daily.

We are seeing new standards that help the marketplace, such as IEEE 2030.51, which provides a smart energy profile to help integrate some of the home automation technologies with the smart meter and into the utility. Still, it is going to take some time to fully realize the benefits of applications.

As we are seeing progress in these standards, it is becoming increasingly clear that collaboration among global SDOs (standards development organisations) is going to be very important to help harmonize and utilize industry resources to drive innovation forward in a way that is beneficial to utilities and their customers alike.

IEEE has more than 100 standards (and standards in development) with relevance to the smart grid, including many that are intended specifically to contribute to M2M communications. We have seen a lot of progress around networking standards with application for new environments.

Two examples are the IEEE 2030.5 smart energy profile, which proposes mechanisms for exchanging application messages and security features, and IEEE P2030.102, which outlines procedures for implementing an IEC 61850 substation in a multi-vendor equipment environment. So, there has been a lot of progress in terms of moving technologies for data exchange forward.

Cybersecurity critical

One of the key areas now where the utility industry has been looking at standardization is cybersecurity, which is so critically important in an environment of M2M communications for command and control and highly sensitive utility and consumer data.

Among the key standards in this area are IEEE 16863, IEEE C37.2404 and the in-development IEEE P2030.102.15. In overlaying the grid with two-way communications, cybersecurity is of utmost importance because, conceptually, at least, inaccurate or compromised data could shut down areas of the grid and jeopardize economies or even lives.

In many cases, we are looking at technologies that already exist but in new ways. So when we talk about smart grid networks and sensor networks now, it’s a matter of leveraging existing, proven communications technologies – Ethernet, Wi-Fi, powerline communications and such – and defining how to collect, store and exchange data in an interoperable, secure and robust fashion for this new application.

The right standard for the right technology

We have standards in multiple technology spaces such as broadband over powerline, wireless communications, Ethernet, fiber, etc., and each has its pros and cons depending on its own implementation and environmental adaptation to whatever local region, given the specific deployment.

The IEEE 802.36 standards, for example, are very important here, as are the IEEE 19017 family and how we look at exchanging that data. So, IEEE standards are meant to cover technologies broadly and extend to utilities the flexibility to deploy whatever…

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