Siemens' Meter Energy Management Solution Powered by Blackfin®

Increasing the use of smart meters across local and country-wide power systems is the key to achieving accurate, reliable energy management. Consider a local energy bill that not only details the price of kilowatt hours used per month, but specifically highlights the cost and energy use by time of day and potentially by the appliance that consumes it. Even better, consider the energy company, through its ability to gather this real time information, offering significant discounts to consumers who modify their energy usage from peak to off-peak, for example, giving energy credits for running a washing machine at 9:00 pm instead of 6:30 pm.

By leveraging the cost-effective computational performance of Analog Devices' Blackfin processor at the heart of its "smart meter" technology, the Siemens Automated Metering and Information System (AMIS) has made this kind of scenario a reality. The result gives both energy companies and consumers the ability to manage their costs and ultimately conserve the use of precious energy resources.

Early in the AMIS design stage, Siemens recognized that to accomplish this goal, these smart meters would require exceptional in-meter processing power, dynamic and grid-integrated communications and true scalability, all at a low per-unit cost. Siemens chose the Blackfin convergent processor because of its ability to seamlessly operate both as a DSP and an MCU, making it uniquely suited to Siemens AMIS' high processing and dynamic communication application requirements.

The low-cost Blackfin's ability to process raw, real-time energy usage data at the meter level as well as power communications between the meter and the grid offered a one stop, low cost, and easily configurable solution. As energy companies implement AMIS smart meters beyond local grids, the Blackfin-based meter elements are also easily adapted via software to match disparate local or country-specific communication standards.

Fully Integrated Whole-Grid Communications
Grid-wide data capture and communication between power companies, power grids and consumers is what distinguishes Siemens AMIS' smart meter capability. By designing smart-meter components around the Blackfin processor, AMIS leads this power-grid transformation by not only measuring consumption in homes, but also extending across the entire energy chain ecosystem, from power plant to consumer. In fact, a Blackfin-powered data concentrator at a local transformer substation collects energy use data on a second-by-second basis, monitors the power grid and transmits the data to a control station. Uniquely self-sufficient, Siemens AMIS uses power line technology to transmit data, eliminating separate, costly radio, internet or local exchange carriers, although AMIS makes it possible to adopt these mediums, if desired.

"It is Analog Devices' Blackfin that enabled us to offer sophisticated measurement and communication at the meter level, enabling a true system-wide energy management tool."
– Alexander Schenk,
Business Segment Manager,
Siemens Energy, Power Distribution Division

Blackfin-based smart meters satisfy today's design requirements, but also anticipate next-generation energy-management technology, incorporation of new, disparate grid appliances, and the facilitation of alternative energy-use credits for consumers. As future standards are developed, they can be simply downloaded over the power line grid into the Blackfin-based meter components, creating a seamless transition.

Incorporating other utility usage such as gas and water can be accomplished via wireless communication into the remote metering system. To support the increasing adoption of alternative energy systems, the AMIS system meter, for example, can control the feed-in of electricity from solar cells to or from a power plant.

The true beneficiary of smart meter technology is the environment. Until the right technology existed at the right cost point to implement real-time smart-metering, there was insufficient information to detect or correct wasteful energy use. With Blackfin's real time energy collection and communications capabilities, power companies now have the information they need to conserve energy consumption, directly reducing carbon emissions in the environment.

Visit the Siemens site to learn more.

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