Customising Energy Control
Issue: 
Maximise home and business energy efficiency and cut power costs by continuously monitoring and modifying electricity consumption in real time.
Solution: 

Use a 3G M2M WiFi device featuring a software development kit (SDK) to create a custom ZigBee smart energy network that allows users to monitor and control power consumption across multiple devices from any location.

Benefits:

  • Use SDK to develop custom applications
  • Create a ZigBee smart energy network  
  • Integrate ZigBee with additional sensor and in home display devices
  • Expand NTC-40WVV input/output
  • Achieve access and control of real time data
  • Enable consumers to effectively manage energy consumption
  • No need for separate processing platforms to be deployed in the field

Genesys Electronics Design Pty Ltd, a NetComm Wireless certified software development kit (SDK) integrator, provides a complete electronics product and software development service from initial concept through to the production of innovative commercial ready solutions. Answering the call for effective energy management, Genesys created a unique custom application that captures data from smart meters to provide visibility and remote access to real time information.

Developed to help homes and businesses cope with the escalating cost of energy, Genesys’ interactive energy monitoring tool helps to cut energy consumption, better manage energy bills and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The breakthrough application uses NetComm Wireless’ 3G M2M WiFi device (NTC-40WV) and its SDK feature to establish a custom ZigBee personal area network (PAN) incorporating sensors and displays.

Geoff Sizer, CEO of Genesys Electronics Design, said the project successfully setup the NTC-40WV as a ZigBee data logger that can log and display metering data from a ZigBee smart energy network.

“This integrated ZigBee system allows users to continually monitor and log mains power consumption for multiple separate power circuits, both locally and remotely via the Internet. To gain familiarity with the SDK, our software engineers initially integrated a Bluetooth USB dongle with a NetComm Wireless 3G M2M WiFi modem followed by a ZigBee USB dongle, ZigBee-enabled multi-channel mains power metering system and a commercially available power monitoring display.”

What this means for consumers is effective energy consumption management from virtually any location. Genesys’ simple to use in-home display unit gives homes and businesses the capacity to set up energy saving targets, receive consumption alerts and access peak pricing and historical data over 3G.

Project Outline

The project involved two sections:

  1. Enabling ZigBee on the Genesys-designed mains power monitoring system using the smart energy ZigBee profile as a convenient test bed device.
  2. Enabling NetComm Wireless as a smart energy interface and gathering power readings (kWH) from the mains power monitoring system.

Currently, in the Australian market, the smart energy network consists of an energy service interface (ESI) which also hosts the metering device and an in home display (IHD) which can be added to the network as an option. A Genesys designed power monitoring system which monitors Genesys’ office power split into 15 feeds has been enhanced as a ZigBee smart energy metering device with 15 endpoints. The ZigBee stack is on the USB device, and the 15 metering endpoints are updated every minute by the power monitoring system. This means the system can load measured real power from 15 independently-monitored feeds to 15 endpoints on the ZigBee USB stick and a coordinator on the other end can read the data via the ZigBee network.

The ZigBee ESI is another USB device that is connected to the NTC-40WV, and the software running on the NTC-40WV polls the data from the 15 metering devices at a set interval. Metering data from the 15 devices is then logged onto the RDB variables on the NTC-40WV and the values are displayed to the user through the web interface. The total site consumption metering endpoint on the ESI is updated by the NTC-40WV by summing the values from all the 15 feeds. The ipkg install file on the NTC-40WV consists of a: Qt application, Qt Libraries, web page, RDB manager template file in addition to the default install files; and the IHD connects to the smart energy network and displays the value of the total site consumption metering endpoint in kWH. An off-the-shelf stand-alone ZigBee linked module displays the power reading for one selected power channel.

Geoff said “Our experience in using the NetComm Wireless SDK has been very positive. We were able to rapidly come up to speed with the SDK, experiencing minimal difficulties in successfully using the SDK facilities and NetComm Wireless products. Where liaison with technical support personnel was undertaken, issues were resolved quickly and easily. Throughout the SDK integrator certification process, working with NetComm Wireless was a pleasure. I think it is fair to say that we’ve validated NetComm Wireless’ SDK concept.”

“We are now able to confidently offer our customers customised applications running on NetComm Wireless’ products; and are able to support NetComm Wireless by offering services to parties wishing to efficiently implement customised solutions on the NetComm Wireless platform, thereby avoiding the need for separate processing platforms to be deployed in the field.”

The NetComm Wireless NTC-40WV creates a wide-area-network for point-to-point or point-to-multi-point connections for M2M applications from virtually any location using the flexibility of 3G; and its SDK feature enables users to install custom firmware to the onboard flash memory via the programming interface. Genesys created an install for the NTC-40WV which includes: Bluetooth, USB drivers, Bluetooth library and tools to successfully scan for nearby Bluetooth devices as well as establishing a web page to enable or disable Bluetooth.

Notes:

  1. The In Home Display used is a commercially available product for the Australian market.
  2. The Victorian govt. specification does not allow more than one metering device on a smart energy network, and that the metering device should be on the ESI. The 15 metering device endpoints were therefore set as gas meters and one electric meter is set on the ESI which accumulates the energy of all the 15 metering device endpoints. This is shown on the IHD, which is the Total Site Consumption.
  3. All the devices are installed with the Smart Energy Profile test certificate from Certicom.
  4. The network uses ZigBee Stack Profile 2 (ZigBee Pro).

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