U-SNAP Alliance, Smart Grid and Internet Connectivity Companies

Leading Smart Grid and Internet Connectivity Companies Join U-SNAP Alliance

Alliant Energy, CLECO, Comverge, GE Consumer & Industrial, Portland General Electric, Radio Thermostat Company of America, Sensus, Trilliant and eleven other companies join U-SNAP Alliance in smart grid home area network standard creation.

Morgan Hill, CA. (September 10, 2009) – The U-SNAP Alliance, formed by a group of utility industry leaders to create a low cost connector standard to enable consumer products to communicate with any vendor’s smart meter, announced the formation of the alliance and first members to join the Alliance, bringing total membership to 19 companies.

U-SNAP (Utility Smart Network Access Port) Alliance addresses a key portion of the Smart Grid, the home area network (HAN), where consumer appliances and other energy aware devices talk to smart meters. As the Smart Grid and smart metering market grows, the development of an industry standard to enable plug and play connectivity between smart meters and home networks will be key to the creation and adoption of energy aware devices.

Members of the U-SNAP Alliance represent several key elements of the smart grid ecosystem, including utilities, product design and manufacturing, semiconductors, smart meters, software, thermostats, and in-home displays.

Founding members leading the Alliance at the Promoter level and as members of the Board of Directors are Radio Thermostat Company of America and Sensus. Contributor Members, consisting of product manufacturers, includes Comverge, eRadio, GainSpan, GE Consumer & Industrial, Intwine Connect, NURI Telecom Co., Ltd, Trilliant and ZeroG Wireless. Influencer Members, consisting of non-manufacturers, namely utilities, includes 4Home, Alliant Energy, Benton PUD, Celestica International, CLECO, LS Research, Niagara-on-the-Lake Hydro, Portland General Electric and Our Home Spaces.

“I am quite pleased with the first wave of companies joining the U-SNAP Alliance,” said Jon Rappaport, chairman of the U-SNAP Alliance. “Our rapidly growing membership represents an impressive mix of utilities and appliance manufacturers, and enabling technologies who understand the dynamics of the Home to Grid market and the need to enable connectivity between smart meters and consumer products.”

“There is increasing activity around smart meters and several companies are actively developing U-SNAP compliant products based on the first U-SNAP specification, with the first products appearing on retail shelves later this year,” said Tim Simon, U-SNAP Alliance vice chairman.

More information on U-SNAP Alliance membership, technical specifications, and activities can be found at http://www.usnap.org.

About the U-SNAP Alliance
The U-SNAP Alliance is an open industry association developing an industry standard for connecting energy aware consumer products with smart meters. The Alliance will create and publish a standard, establish testing and certification procedures for product conformance and educate consumers, utilities and vendors on the benefits of the standard. Alliance membership is comprised of utilities, manufacturers, consultants and other parties interested in developing or deploying the standard. For more information, or to find out how to join the Alliance, please visit www.usnap.org.

Member Quotes

“4Home is a staunch supporter of standardization. We believe that U-SNAP will play an important role in the driving the device interoperability necessary to bring compelling, cost-effective energy solutions to consumers. U-SNAP adoption will allow the 4Home Software Platform to expand its ecosystem of supported devices, thereby increasing the value of the various consumer applications that we create. 4Home is looking forward to our participation and will work diligently to move this initiative forward,” said 4Home President & CEO, Leon Hounshell

Alliant Energy
“Alliant Energy is extremely pleased to be a member and supporter of the U-SNAP Alliance.”, said Gregg Lawry, Director of Energy Delivery Technology.  “The U-SNAP standard represents a major leap forward in establishing a cost effective means of supporting interoperability of utility smart grid systems, customer smart appliances, and Home Area Networks, allowing the use of wireless communications technologies best suited for each application and environment.  We strongly encourage others to consider support of U-SNAP through their membership in the Alliance, and through specification of products that incorporate the U-SNAP standard.”

“Supporting the U-SNAP Alliance is part of our ongoing commitment to help our customers embrace and advance environmental technologies,” said, Greg Allen, Vice President, Green Technologies, Celestica. “We believe that the standardized interoperability of products within the HAN is critical to a successful multi-vendor Smart Grid ecosystem and Celestica is focused on supporting technologies and standards that enable our customers to rapidly commercialize products to make the Smart Grid a reality in every home and business.”

“Comverge is committed to a more intelligent and integrated electric grid. The U-SNAP Alliance represents a step toward establishing Smart Grid standards that will ensure interoperability and drive the energy industry forward,” said Comverge Interim President & CEO, Michael Picchi.

“We applaud the work of the U-SNAP Alliance and are pleased to be an early member of the group.”, said Rick Boland, CEO of e-Radio USA.  “We believe the low cost, easy-to-use common connector approach will accelerate the growth and interoperability of various devices residing on the smart grid.”  “e-Radio looks forward to working with alliance members to integrate its FM-RDS based technology into products that are consistent with U-SNAP standards.”

“While Wi-Fi is widely available, some home area networks use other technologies and the beauty of the U-SNAP Alliance is its goal of achieving a technology-agnostic, universal solution for connecting devices to smart meters,” said Bernard Aboussouan, VP Marketing, GainSpan Corporation.  “Device makers will not have to worry about choosing the right wireless technology and can instead focus on bringing the right products to market.”

GE Consumer & Industrial
“USNAP provides a great interoperability solution for a variety of consumer and utility products during these interim years while Smart Grid communication standards are developed and deployed.  It also provides a format to allow products to be upgraded to new protocols and helps ensure against stranded assets,” said Kevin Nolan, Vice President of Technology.

Intwine Connect
“Our goal is to provide customers with an easy-to-use, low-risk, cost effective solution to enable monitoring and control of their internet connected devices. Intwine’s primary focus is the relevance of our solution in delivering customer value versus being enamored with the enabling technology. To us, technology is simply the plumbing. The benefits our solution delivers to OEM customers are 1) improved brand loyalty due to a positive end user experience  2) providing actionable information to product engineering and marketing research teams by gaining visibility into usage patterns and 3) strengthened relationships with market channel partners by providing a fleet management platform to increase sales of consumables. To consumers, the value of the Intwine user experience is peace of mind knowing their Intwine Connected Home results in enhanced safety, health, energy efficiency, money savings, and fun!”

LS Research
“LS Research has always been a supporter of standards that add efficiency and flexibility to product development. Our strengths in ZigBee, WiFi, Bluetooth and other radio standards is further enhanced with the introduction of U-SNAP as a physical layer interconnection. We have our ModFLEX set of certified radio modules which will fit nicely into the evolution of this up and coming standard. With our enhanced focus on the Smart Energy business which includes our RateSaver Smart Energy approved IHD, U-SNAP gives us yet another tool to help our growing list of utility focused customers” Says Bill Steinike, President of LS Research.

Our Home Spaces
“Our Home Spaces is excited to be a part of the U-SNAP alliance and Radio Thermostat’s product release later this year.” said Jan Peterson, Co-Founder of Our Home Spaces.  “Our involvement with the U-SNAP WiFi module has demonstrated the flexibility and potential associated with this platform and we anticipate the application of the WiFi module to several Home Area Network solutions for both the Smart Grid efforts and communicating appliances.  Integration with user devices, like the iPhone or Widgets, allows the user maximum control and access to their U-SNAP enabled appliances. The U-SNAP Alliance’s mission of creating an open standard for consumer products is critically needed for mass market acceptance of the Smart Grid and Our Home Spaces applauds this undertaking and looks forward to being actively involved with this alliance.”

Niagara-on-the-Lake Hydro
“Our company believes that HAN in every home will become an integral component of the North American Smart Grid.  The U-SNAP product development is expected to overcome a number of technical barriers that stand in the way of this reality,” said Jim Huntingdon, president, Niagara-on-the-Lake Hydro Inc.

Portland General Electric
“U-SNAP makes an important contribution to interoperability by standardizing a physical form factor.  The biggest barrier to demand respond is the cost to install communications at a specific appliance. The low-cost U-SNAP connector makes it relatively inexpensive for an appliance OEM to add the socket without incurring the cost of a communication device.  The standard physical form factor means communication device makers can reach a lower price point because many appliances will use the same communication module. Both of these effects mean lower costs for customers to participate in demand response,” said Conrad Eustis, Director Retail Technology Development.

“This plug-in U-SNAP card provides a powerful, low cost solution. It solves a key utility issue-having to choose a HAN communication technology and pay for  it, in all meters, up front and often well before the utility knows  the scope and timing of a demand response deployment. It does this  by using the communications hardware that is already imbedded in  every smart meter, to communicate with a HAN controller embedded in  a U-SNAP device such as a thermostat. Sensus is strongly supportive of this innovative solution,” said H. Britton Sanderford, Jr., Chief Technology Officer.

Trilliant Incorporated
“U-SNAP benefits utilities and consumers by lowering the risk of technology obsolescence,” said Eric Miller, Senior Vice President Solutions for Trilliant. “Prior to U-SNAP, Smart Grid networks relied on an ‘under-the-glass’ implementation of home-networking technologies to enable consumer energy efficiency capabilities. U-SNAP effectively decouples HAN technology from the meter, which allows utilities the flexibility to deploy HAN-based demand-side programs on a per-consumer basis without requiring the adoption of still-evolving HAN standards in every meter. This not only lowers the cost for smart metering but also provides a more future-proof solution for demand response and home energy efficiency.”

ZeroG Wireless
“The U-Snap interface seeks to standardize connection of devices to the smart grid, and we believe this will result in more rapid adoption of Wi-Fi for a variety of customers focused on the home area network (HAN).  We are happy to support the Alliance with our low-power embedded Wi-Fi products to provide our customers with seamless and secure connectivity to the ubiquitous Wi-Fi installed base,” said, David Friedman, senior director strategic marketing.

(Contact Info: U-SNAP Alliance | 408-833-6241| barry@u-snap.org)

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