Smart meters will increasingly be in the middle of home area networking, according to a report by Pike Research.
Pike Research, which focuses on the cleantech market, estimates that home area networking (HAN) capabilities will be embedded in 49 percent of all smart meters shipped by 2013. In North America, HAN-enabled smart meters will be 81 percent of the market.
This home network-grid integration means there will be an increasing number of applications. Ultimately, smart thermostats, energy displays, appliances and home management tools will be connected.
The likely standard to lead the home networking charge is ZigBee, a wireless network used for home, building and industrial control. ZigBee conforms to the IEEE 802.15.4 wireless standard for low data rate networks. Pike Research, however, notes that power line communications and other radio technologies will also play a role.
According to Pike Research's Smart Meter report:
While smart metering energy, climate, and operating benefits may be common around the world, the communications technologies, standards, and regulatory environments are not. Multiple proprietary and semi-standard solutions exist for a “network of networks” linking smart meters and consumers’ in-home devices into a cohesive energy infrastructure, but vendors, utilities, governments, industry associations, and standards bodies are all exerting different influences in each region.