Smart Technology & Evolution in the New Energy Economy

New electronic product development is an industry that changes so quickly it transforms in the blink of an eye. The world has recently come to a turning point where smart technologies are the code-words of energy development and technologies with and ecological inclination. In the race for eco-friendly and more efficient electronic product development, ZigBee wireless technology is a front-runner. ZigBee literally sets the standards for effective interoperability of power management and storage innovations. Management of everything from household appliances, power storage and integration of various suppliers of renewable energy (such as solar, or wind power) depends on wireless sensor networks.

An interesting side-bar of the Smart Grid phenomenon is that it is operated and owned almost exclusively by industry, with most standards and leadership provided by government.

Evolving Energy

Unless you are an engineer or an electronic product development company you may have never heard of wireless sensor technology ZigBee Wireless sensor technology was created to fulfill the market’s increasing hunger for a standards-based cost-effective, wireless network. A reliable interoperable network for energy management was sorely needed; one that could support low power consumption and adequate data rates as well as being highly secure.

The worldwide emphasis on smart energy stimulated a need for simpler, faster development of technologies associated with smarter electronic products. Residential application applied to appliances, lighting, safety, security and management of consumer usage. Consumers and utility companies both can now have more security, control, and flexibility over power management. Electronic product development teams strive to reduce the power consumption, size and cost while bringing products to market faster. Smart Energy, Smart Meters, Smart Grid are all applications designed to reduce energy consumption and increase performance by giving more control at lower costs.

With this growing demand for less power consumption we are going to see tremendous growth in Smart Energy projects over the next few years. Remote monitoring and control applications are already enabling a greener environment. Further developments of Smart Grid home devices are already advancing the goal of reducing carbon emissions.

Today, smart electronic product development companies are embracing these revolutionary “smart technologies” in new product development. In this young energy-driven the scope for new electronic products that improve the efficiency and affordability (as well as safety) of energy development and management is expanding at a breakneck speed. To excel, companies will have to get on board with greener technologies. They must already design with more eco-friendly tools, techniques, and technologies.

Individual opinions vary widely about Smart Grid systems, but all sides concur that our antiquated analog and mechanical electric grid has to be upgraded to modern digital networks. I have seen unconfirmed reports that U.S, utility companies already have signed contracts to install as many as 30 – 45 million Smart Meters.

A recent quote from Kurt Yeager, executive director of the Galvin Electricity Initiative, “Everything [in the current grid is about as out of date as you could imagine, right down to the same old copper wires, rather than newer, more efficient conductive materials that can carry power without as much resistance, energy loss and heat,” said Yeager. “There are virtually no power electronics or sensors whatsoever in the system”

The Department of Energy (DOE) is accelerating the development of Smart Grids. Power transmission and distribution grids utilize a Smart Grid to enable more efficient use of electricity. Smart technology addresses energy independence by reducing peak demand periods and using less power at a better price. By implementing advanced metering infrastructure… know as Smart Metering, it is possible to economically provide information as to when and how much electricity is used.

The possibilities seem to be vast for these frontiers! New ideas for electronic product development are advancing not only Smart Grid technologies but all aspects of designing electronic products.

The following definition is what the government and utilities that fund the development of grid modernization have specified as required functions for Smart Grids. According to the United States Department of Energy’s Modern Grid Initiative report, a modern Smart Grid must:

Motivate consumers to actively participate
Be secure – attack resistant
Provide higher quality power that will save money wasted from outages
Accommodate all generation and storage options
Enable electricity markets to flourish
Optimize assets
Run more efficiently
Enable higher degree of usefulness of renewable power generation sources
Be able to heal itself and join other devices seamlessly

As with the internet, a smart-grid network must link up billions of connections and devices as well as perform functions all at once. It needs to be far more flexible than the current antiquated power system while preserving our natural resources. What a great time to be a scientist or electronic product development company! We are working together to create an evolution, maintaining the old while constructing the future.