On 20th July 2011, the ZigBee Alliance formally made available version 1.1 of ZigBee Smart Energy – the only widely available Advanced Metering Infrastructure standard. The standard is based on the well-established ZigBee standard for self-organising (mesh) wireless data networking using the 2.4 GHz band. ZigBee Smart Energy overlays the protocols and services that will be needed to build the metering and control infrastructure for the much-discussed Smart Grid of the future.
The latest, 1.1 version adds a number of key features including dynamic pricing enhancements and over-the-air updates; all requiring backward-compatibility with certified ZigBee Smart Energy products that conform to version 1.0.
Any of these features and services embodied in Smart Energy products must be fully tested for conformance before the product can be declared as ZigBee SE 1.1-Compliant. TRaC has a long-established policy of monitoring evolving standards, and immediately following the release of ZigBee SE 1.1, had a compliance-test suite in place. TRaC is currently the only test house in Europe ready and able to carry out this test programme – and one of only a select few sites world-wide.
Equally advanced with its programme for ZigBee SE 1.1 products is Danish manufacturer Develco Products; the company designs and produces communication systems for Automated Meter Reading, Advanced Metering Infrastructure, and Smart Metering combined with Home Automation. The company makes extensive use of wireless data protocols; as a Member of the ZigBee Alliance since its inception, Develco has always ensured rigorous adherence to ZigBee standards in all of its products.
With a new generation of Smart Metering products employing ZigBee SE 1.1 features, approaching release to market, Develco Products needed to be able to declare conformance to the Standard as soon as version 1.1 was formalised. Working closely with TRaC over a period of months, the two companies monitored the Standards process for any late changes. The end result of this was a particularly fast turnaround resulting in 7 different SE 1.1 certified products.
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