Embedded.com Tech Focus Newsletter (1-31-11): Smart Grid, Smart Power - Embedded.com

Embedded.com Tech Focus Newsletter (1-31-11): Smart Grid, Smart Power

Embedded Newsletter for January 31, 2011

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 Issue Highlights

Obama calls for R&D boost at Sputnik moment

Tech takeaways from Obama's State of the Union

Addressing the challenges of smart utility meter design

Editor's Note

Despite the disastrous impact the 2008 worldwide financial crash has had on many electronics markets, embedded systems companies have weathered the downturn better than the rest of the world economy. One of the reasons may have been the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, which passed both houses of the U.S. Congress within months after President Obama took office.

Many of the infrastructure investment proposals were targeted toward a range of broadbandInternet, smart power grid, smart energy and low power motor control – sectors in which embedded developers were already active. The Act was followed over the next18 months by a string of funding initiatives  such as $3.4 billion for smart grids, $2.4 billion f or batteries and e-cars, $43 billion for energy technology, $3.2 billion in power efficiency grants, a broadband Internet initiative , and new lighting efficiency standards .

This high level of funding and governmentsupport has accelerated development of new techniques, tools and products,the diversity of which is reflected in some of the recent design articles(see below ) which have been published on EET/Embedded.com. 

In President Obama'ssecond State of the Union Address last week he called for an effort equivalent in intensity and effort to the one made after the launch of the Russian Sputnik and proposed a new set of technology initiatives to makethe U.S. more competitive in the world economy. But its future – and thatof Obama's previous initiatives – is in doubt in a Congress where Republicanswant to reduce Federal spending back to pre-2008 levels.

Whatever way it goes, the designarticles you submit to EET/Embedded.com and ESD Magazine convince me thatthe embedded sector will not only continue to be alive and well, but prosper,even without major funding support. What do you think? Leave your feedbackonline with recent stories by Brian Fuller, Rick Merritt, Rick DeMeis and Mark LaPeduson Obama's proposals.

(EET/Embedded.com Editor Bernard Cole, , 928-525-9087 )  

Design How Tos: Smart Grids

Addressing the challenges of smart utility meter design

This article highlights some of the major issues of metering and proposes the means to achieve the intended goals by making the designer aware of the challenges beforehand.

Designing intelligent smart grids that promote energy efficiency

Low-power analog, mixed-signal, and RF building blocks areneeded to tranform the power-grid plans into reality

Smart management is the key to smart grid meter security

Addressing the security of meters in emerging smart grid applications requires a secret key management strategy that does not store keys on any node, authenticates each node, verifies communications, and uses temporary communication keys that are rotated often.

Smart Metering Tech Promotes Energy Efficiency

The venerable electromechanical power-line meter is being replaced by the electronic smart meter. Understand the various types of smart metering and the benefits these meters offer.

Robust design principles for home smart grid metering

Applied Micro's Vamshi Kandalla details the steps needed to bring Smart Grid technology into the home and describes how SoCs such as itsAPM801xx can be used to build energy meters that can serve as two-way communicationhubs between the home and the utility.

Securing Smart Grid devices

One way to improve smart grid security is to separate critical and confidential portions of the system from non-critical, non-confidential parts. This article describes how to accomplish this using secure hypervisors and virtualization.

Robust Energy – Meter Network with RS-485

Electronic energy meters steadily are replacing the historical, electromechanical meters in industrial plants and commercial buildings. Robust RS-485 differential signaling has become the preferred method of remote data transmission in these harsh and noisy environments.

Elements of Basic and Smart Utility Meters

Understand the principles and functional requirements behind this fast-growing application

Integrated technology allows automated meter readers

The days of the mechanical electricity meter, or e-meter, are rapidly coming to a close in the wake of new advances in semiconductor technology. While the mechanical versions, with their rotating wheels and needle indicators, can still do the job of raw energy measurement, their electronic offspring can extend the functionality of the e-meter to a whole new level, benefiting designers, utilities and customers alike.

Connecting Smart Homes and Smart Grids to Save Energy

The concept of home automation has been bantered about fordecades. Unfortunately, adoption has been limited to people with very largehomes and disposable incomes. Energy issues are now making home automationan issue for mainstream homes and Home Area Networks can make the technologyavailable and affordable.

Getting basic utility meter designs ready for the Smart Grid

To be part of the emerging smart power utility grid revolution, you need to get the basics. Here is the lowdown on the design requirements of current basic utility meter apps and how they will evolve to meet future energy needs.

Design How Tos: Smart Power

Smart Power

The modern cell phone has become a pocket media center, how anyone gets more than 15 minutes of battery life out of such a contraption is one of the most significant engineering challenges of the decade. Read what Steve Ohr says are the significant architectures and techniques Editor from the recent introductions.

Making motors more energy efficient

Until alternative energy solutions become more practical, the efficiency of appliances can be improved using new technology, resultingin lower energy consumption and costs.

Next-gen power electronics spur energy efficiency

Over the last 30 years, it is estimated power semiconductors have helped improve efficiency of cars by 40%. Now with government green-energy and CO2 reduction plans, the power semiconductor industry is expected tocontribute further improvements in energy efficiency. Here are the options.

Design implications of Energy Efficient Ethernet (EEE)

On September 30th, the IEEE ratified IEEE Std. 802.3az-2010, specifying the technology an

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