Over the past few years there has been increased interest in using technologies currently deployed in smart grids for Internet of Things (IoT) infrastructure. The combination of the technology’s high performance, low cost and high level of security and the use of standards makes it an excellent option for expanding IoT infrastructure. There is a great opportunity here to draw on existing smart grid technologies, but it must be done correctly. In order to help business leaders understand how advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) technologies can be modified to support multiple IoT applications, I will be leading a session with the presentation of my paper, “Smart Grid Technology Applied to Industrial IoT,” at Internet of Things (IoT) West 2014.

My session at IoT West will explore my recent paper which describes how AMI technologies have been modified to support multiple IoT applications. The technologies are now non-application specific, open, available, and still meet the same stringent smart grid requirements, making these technologies an interesting option for business and civic leaders looking to increase IoT infrastructure.

AMI systems enable the measurement, configuration, and control of energy, gas and water consumption and distribution, through two-way scheduled and on-demand communication. AMI networks are composed of millions of nodes that are inter-connected in a multi-hop mesh network using some combination of wireless and power-line communications. These networks form the so-called Neighbor Area Network (NAN), along with a backhaul network providing connectivity to “command-and-control” management software applications at the utility company back office.

Each node is resource-constrained in terms of processing power, storage capabilities, and communication bandwidth, due to a combination of regulatory and engineering factors such as heat emissions, form factor and cost, but still has to be reachable through its IPv6 address. In addition, battery powered devices must be deployed in harsh environments for over 20 years without an opportunity to replace the batteries.

In a typical AMI deployment, groups of meters within physical proximity form routing domains, which can vary in size from 1,000 to 10,000 meters. Node density can vary significantly. For example, apartment buildings in urban centers may have hundreds of meters in close proximity, whereas rural areas may have sparse node distributions and include nodes that only have a small number of network neighbors.

All of these characteristics make AMI technologies very desirable for IoT infrastructure. The main challenge is how to apply these technologies to the broad Industrial IoT. My paper and presentation at IoT West will explore these challenges and opportunities in greater detail, drawing on examples of successful implementation around the world.

IoT West is a new event covering advanced connectivity and cloud-based control of devices, equipment, facilities and enterprise operations. The conference is taking place in Las Vegas, Nevada November 6 – 7, 2014, and will feature educational sessions showcasing solutions in mobile to mobile and machine intelligence, big data, facility and enterprise wide connectivity, wearables, IoT security, communications networks, cloud-based monitoring and control of equipment, assets, facilities & operations and smart service management.

I hope you will consider joining me at this exciting event!

Learn more by following @IoTShow on Twitter.

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Roberto Aiello
Managing Director, Itron Idea Labs - Itron Idea Labs
Dr. Roberto Aiello is the managing director of the Itron Idea Labs and responsible for new business innovation at Itron, including Internet of Things.

His previous experience includes managing wireless research at Interval Research, Paul Allen's technology incubator and technology transfer at Disney Research. He is an advisor to Google Advanced Technology and Projects (ATAP) and is a Lean Startup expert who serves as a mentor at the Cleantech Open and Startup Weekend.

Dr. Aiello also founded two venture-funded, wireless semiconductor companies and one web/mobile startup. Dr. Aiello worked as a physicist at Stanford Linear Accelerator Center and Superconducting Super Collider.