Smart Grid

January 30, 2013

New and 'In Demand': CalAmp Offers Load-Control and Analytics Platform

Much like other industries, electric utilities must keep a careful eye on supply and demand. Now, Oxnard, California-based CalAmp Corp. (News - Alert)—a provider of wireless communications solutions that deliver data, voice and video for critical, networked communications—has introduced a demand response monitoring and management platform for the smart grid.

The company describes its new product, CalAmp Energy Management and Control (EMC (News - Alert)), as a comprehensive, scalable, load-control solution. The platform comprises sophisticated analytics software, gateway hardware, remote device management, and a unique home control application.

"With CalAmp EMC, utility operators can deploy and manage a broad portfolio of load reduction programs in a single, networked solution," explained Mike Zachan, general manager of CalAmp's Wireless Networks business. "Our solution can stand alone or be tightly integrated with existing load-control programs and devices to provide …better demand forecasting and rapid event response."

In today's energy distribution environment, utilities looking to optimize loads, and improve forecasting and demand response, face a variety of equipment, integration and data issues. Challenges common to proprietary load control systems include:

  • Integrating often incompatible metering hardware,
  • Managing proprietary data formats,
  • Securely accessing and transmitting large amounts of data, and
  • Sorting through and analyzing the volume of data to create meaningful, actionable information.

CalAmp's approach harmonizes these disparate elements to provide one single point of access, analysis and management that protects current assets and positions them for future growth. CalAmp EMC comprises:

A command-and-control core for creating, testing, executing, and fine-tuning a variety of load-management programs—and simultaneously activating existing load-control switches and new two-way devices;

A dashboard analytics solution that consolidates all relevant across a utility's footprint to provide performance insights and advanced forecasting analysis—and enables utilities to explore and adjust variables in near real-time to optimize energy distribution;

COLT (News - Alert) (CalAmp On-Line Telemetric platform), an enterprise-class software package designed specifically for telemetric and telematics applications, which provides the framework and network architecture for integrating applications as well as connecting, coordinating and managing any number of communications devices;

Energy gateways in the form of communications devices located onsite at residences and businesses that support paging, cellular and broadband formats, interface with Zigbee-enabled devices, and control up to four circuits per unit; and

Home Control via a secure, Web-based, home energy management application that enables utility consumers to manage electricity, water and gas usage; participate in time-of use (TOU) programs; and automate control of energy in their homes.

"Leveraging the unified dashboard, operators can quickly understand demand profiles and effectively respond to very dynamic conditions," Zachan noted. "Furthermore, the CalAmp EMC solution is ideal for utilities looking to efficiently and affordably migrate large-scale legacy load control deployments to superior technology."

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Edited by Brooke Neuman