If every home in the UK was a smart home it could open up all sorts of possibilities covering a whole range of services reaching far beyond simply managing electricity consumption.
The Government is planning to get the smart meter ball rolling. Initially it plans to provide both businesses and consumers with the opportunity to understand and reduce their energy consumption through smart metering. However we can see a future where smart metering goes way beyond this simple ideal.
By 2019 the plan is to put 53 million smart meters in homes and businesses, at an estimated cost of £11.7 billion. The IT requirement alone is going to be a massive challenge. If this project can be successfully implemented, it could open up opportunities for smart services in a great many areas of life. Within a decade we may be living in a truly digital, truly smart Britain.
Fujitsu and smart metering technologies.
Fujitsu is a company keen to move the country into a digital age. It is currently building a network in Japan, where multiple technologies are being used to deliver a cellular and Mesh communication infrastructure.
Through technology being developed, meters configure themselves as wireless gateways. This enables networks to grow naturally and progressively meet traffic needs.
Pilot schemes are also being developed by Fujitsu in countries from China to New Mexico, the aim is to deploy 10 million smart meters. However while projects are in development, it is often the case that turning a vision into reality is not without issue.
The smart network is key – so what technology would work the best?
A simple approach is to use long wave radio communications, however this requires central planning and a large scale upfront investment.
Existing mobile phone networks could be used. They offer better bandwidth, but have less extensive coverage and have problems in the provision of in-building connectivity.
Mesh networks offer resilience and coverage but need complex planning and a large investment in the deployment of gateways.
Perhaps the Cellular-Mesh approach is the way forward as it combines low-cost radio-based terminals that connect to a mobile network.
Smart meters – possibilities beyond the obvious .
With truly smart meters and an all inclusive network spanning the UK, the diversity of opportunities really is barely imaginable.
Diverse new services could benefit the provision of health services, personal care, household security and local government services to name just a few. As a simple example for the health service; Imagine a person with diabetes, the ability to record their blood sugar using a pen device that then transmits the results to their doctor in a single swift and secure action.
Who knows where digital Britain could end up?
Ultimately Fujitsu think that smart homes, in smart communities, in a smart Britain is something worth striving for.
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- Smart metering – the barely imaginable future of the British home? - December 20, 2012