PLC solution wins technology award

Palo Alto, CA, U.S.A. — (METERING.COM) — November 9, 2007 — Based on its recent analysis of the smart metering/grids market, Frost & Sullivan has recognized PCN Technology, Inc. with the 2007 North American Frost & Sullivan Award for Technology Innovation. This Award is bestowed on PCN in recognition of its development of an innovative, cost effective and unique embedded input/output (I/O) solution for high quality of service powerline communication and mesh networking.

While existing grids urgently need to upgrade information and communication technologies, the cost involved is a restraint for the cash strapped utilities. The need of the hour is new communication technologies that are interoperable, backward compatible, future proof and scalable, and also affordable. Modern grids need powerline communication (PLC) systems that will address mission critical data, and interoperate securely with other systems.

"A PLC system needs to transmit data over large-scale mesh networks on existing utility infrastructure and to deliver bandwidths of hundreds of kilo-bits-per-second over many miles to fully support the emerging needs of smart grids and the demand side capabilities of advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) technologies," says Frost & Sullivan Research Analyst Miriam C. Nagel. "It is in such a context that PCN has developed its powerline technology that only requires the existence of a conductive medium to communicate even when the grid is down."

Based on the abilities of PCN’s patented embedded I/O technology, this solution enables the PLC to monitor the grid during power outages, so faults can be promptly detected and isolated within an energy grid. An algorithm called "Dynamic Adaptive Channeling" is key to PCN’s technology; it is implemented in real time and cannot be found in any competing product.

PCN’s products are inexpensive for three reasons. First, the embedded system modules are easily integrated within any existing energy infrastructure without the need for special purpose or expensive hardware. Second, the company’s algorithms are implemented using standard digital processing methods so they can be ‘mapped’ into a variety of hardware architectures. Third, all hardware implementations use industry standard commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) components.

By using advanced microcontrollers (MCU) and digital signal controllers (DSC), PCN provides a feature rich intelligent I/O communication subsystem component module that also provides the many functions traditionally provided by Programmable Logic Controller systems. Because the MCU and DSC are interchangeable components, PCN products are scalable and cost effective.

Although based on a differential and proprietary technology for communication, PCN’s embedded system products have been developed to be industry standard-compliant. They communicate using, and are interoperable across, standard data protocols. They also have convergence to wireless protocols, which enables their seamless integration into hybrid networks.

"PCN’s products have the potential to become the industry standard for PLC networks, interoperating with other systems, transmitting data through transformers and establishing large-scale mesh networks on existing energy infrastructure to provide for the addressing, switching and routing of data for the build out of a complete, seamless, AMI system," notes Nagel.

Frost & Sullivan presents this Award annually to a company that has carried out new research, which has resulted in innovations that have or are expected to bring significant contributions to the industry in terms of adoption, change, and competitive posture. The Award recognizes the quality and depth of a company’s research and development program as well as the vision and risk-taking that enabled it to undertake such an endeavor.