The Ambient Smart Grid® communications platform, which includes hardware and software elements, enables utilities to effectively deploy and manage multiple smart grid applications in parallel – reducing overall system costs and increasing the system’s flexibility and long term usefulness.
Leading the way in the smart grid transformation, Ambient’s smart grid platform provides a utility with an efficient, secure, two-way, open IP network architecture that supports multiple communications technologies in parallel, including cellular, Wi-Fi, radio frequency (RF), power line communications (PLC), and also provides serial and Ethernet connections. Our smart grid platform enables the integration of various smart grid applications, such as smart metering, demand response, distribution automation and monitoring, and direct load control into a common infrastructure. Our flexible architecture and approach also allows for future enhancements of deployed systems.
While providing a communications solution, the Ambient Smart Grid platform also provides distributed intelligence that can support and host Ambient or third party applications – adding value and functionality to existing stand alone applications.
Ambient® applications today include:
- Ambient Power Quality Monitoring (AmbientPQM™) which monitors up to three phases of voltage and/or current.
- Partial Discharge Monitoring that enhances asset management and URD replacement schedules.
By providing integrated systems interoperability, our smart grid communications platform reduces implementation costs, maintenance costs and ongoing communications costs, which is critical for smart grid deployments with an ever-expanding scope.
Industry recognized Leader
Ambient’s smart grid communications platform was the recipient of the top smart grid product at United Telecom Council’s (UTC) Telecom 2011. The UTC Product Awards is an annual competition highlighting the very best in critical infrastructure industry technology.
How utilities can benefit with Ambient®
The Ambient Smart Grid® communications platform provides:
Support for a single network through flexible communications
Utilities need only invest in a single communications network. Our communications nodes support multiple communication technologies simultaneously allowing it to connect to any smart grid application or end device.
Open platform for scalability and interoperability
Utilities can deploy multiple smart grid applications on a flexible platform that can evolve with and embrace new technologies, without the worry of being locked into proprietary technologies.
Preservation of utility smart grid investments
The smart grid transformation is an evolutionary process. Ambient’s communications platform protects utilities against stranding assets. As utilities gradually replace legacy smart grid assets, they can seamlessly integrate existing and new applications and technologies into our communications infrastructure, without the need for a wholesale or costly re-deployment of a new communications platform.
Local application hosting and development framework
Ambient’s smart grid communications nodes have excess processing and storage capacity, which allows the communication platform itself to host applications that run in our open application environment. Utilities can integrate smart grid applications directly into the communications node expanding its overall functionality, even after it has been deployed.
Remote and distributed intelligence
Utilities can more efficiently manage a vast amount of distributed data. Our communications nodes are equipped with powerful processing and storage capabilities that allow for local management and control of smart grid data. The utility can control what data are sent back to operations, what can be stored locally and what can be discarded – all of which can significantly reduce the ongoing communications costs of transmitting such data to the back office.
Utilities are afforded peace of mind. Our smart grid platform is secured through the use of both physical tamper detection features, strong access controls, and secure protocols that encrypt data traffic.
Reduced overall communications implementation and operating costs
We deliver our smart grid platform completely preconfigured to the needs of the utility, which allows for rapid and simplified deployment. Our integrated platform also eliminates the need for and cost associated with separate, application-specific devices, reducing upfront costs, and provides a single point of responsibility and maintenance on all smart grid applications, reducing operational and maintenance costs.
Why a partnership with Ambient® is a benefit
to a utility and the customers it serves
As the smart grid leader, Ambient provides:
Duke Energy, our premier customer, has successfully deployed over 120,000 Ambient communications nodes connecting hundreds of thousands of smart grid end devices. Duke Energy is also using the AmbientNMS® to actively monitor and communicate with all deployed communications nodes. The flexibility, scalability and ease of installation of our technology allows Duke Energy to deploy thousands of additional communications nodes each month.
Premier utility customer experience
We have served as a strategic smart grid transformation partner to Duke Energy, one of the largest utilities in the United States that we believe has one of the most forward-looking smart grid initiatives in North America. Ambient® has been a strategic supplier for Duke Energy’s smart grid programs since 2005.
Since 2000, we have maintained a focus on the development of a smart grid communications platform that meets the needs of utilities. This focus, combined with our experience and industry know-how, built over three increasingly robust generations of our present communications platform, allows us to quickly react to the ever-changing and individualized needs of utilities.
Purpose built products
Our substantial industry and field experience has led to the development of products that are purpose-built to withstand harsh outdoor environments. Further, internal communications node elements include hardened components, battery backups, excess surge protection and design and configuration components, and allow for rapid and safe installation.
Ambient Smart Grid® Communications Platform: Functionality and Benefits
Complete turnkey delivery
Ambient® designs and builds the core network hardware, applications and management software - providing a complete communications solution. Our familiarity with multiple communications architectures, hardware, and software requirements, coupled with staged deployments supervised by experienced field engineers, provide us with the tools necessary for a successful rollout.
Flexible and expandable network architecture
An Ambient Smart Grid® communications platform is modular in nature, and allows a utility to deploy infrastructure on an as-needed basis. As the needs of the utility grow, the network can be expanded to meet new requirements. This flexibility minimizes initial installation costs, shortens the time between investment and realization of revenues, and reduces operations and maintenance expenses.
Outage detection and restoration confirmation
Our communications nodes are powered from low voltage lines, which eliminate the need for separate outage detection equipment throughout the grid at various consumption points since our technology detects power outages in the communications nodes themselves. The communications node can also be equipped with an optional battery, which can help a utility with outage notification and restoration, and allow for continued node operation in the event of a power outage. Remote access to information provided by the communication node substantially reduces the time to restore power to consumers and lowers restoration costs for utilities.
Support of External Applications
The Ambient Smart Grid® is designed to incorporate external applications that leverage our distributed intelligence and communication technologies.
The Ambient Smart Grid platform transforms the distribution grid itself into a series of data points. Thus, utility operators are not limited to applications at the end of the distribution grid, such as metering applications. Grid operators can monitor and communicate with our nodes or grid equipment integrated at any point along the Ambient Smart Grid distribution network.