The entire nation is excited about technology driven smart cities. Power sector, is at the center of such development; for, it will enable the IoT force to take charge to build a Smarter nation. Sapna Mongia, Head – Smart Grids and Metering South Asia, Power and Discretes, STMicroelectronics shares how ST is a committed player to its customers and partners as technology solutions provider for Smart Cities with EFY’s Nidhi Arora.
Q. Has the Indian market matured for the entire portfolio of ST’s advanced products for “smarter” solution at every scale?
A: The concept of smart cities is leading to innovation in technology-based solutions that help solve many of the daily challenges of city life. Federal, State, and Local governments in India are looking to deploy advanced technologies for smart sustainable cities and a better life for citizens through innovative ICT solutions.
IoT adoption is accelerating and we are seeing use of IoT technology in India by many sectors to improve productivity, increase convenience, and stay competitive. The number of connected devices have also been increasing at a tremendous rate over the last few years. Companies across India have realized that they can use data to optimize costs, deliver better services, and boost revenue. By combing the IoT with related technology approaches and concepts such as Cloud computing, Future Internet, Big Data, and robotics, industry, people, and governments will realize even more of the technology’s potential. Analysts predict that new Internet of Things (IoT) products and services will grow exponentially in the coming years. The Automotive, Consumer sector and the Power sector are in the process of deploying IoT technologies in India. The government’s program to develop Smart Cities should see massive demand for efficient-energy power generation, distribution, conversion and consumption, all critical components to meet the large and growing energy needs. Moreover, various smart-city related government projects such as smart transportation, smart grids, etc., are also expected to further propel the use of IoT technology in the country over the next five years.
Q: What is the level of ST’s engagement in developing smart grids for smart city India?
A: The Smart Grid in India is a key application in the Indian power sector and employing Smart meters will help overcome many of the challenges in the power sector as they enable utilities to access energy consumption data remotely without manually reading the meter. Better monitoring and managing power supply distribution benefits consumers by helping them track — and optimize — their power consumption through real-time accurate data. Smart meters can also help to eliminate theft and power pilferage while monitoring the quality of power supplied to consumers.
Another challenge of the India Power Sector is power loss during transmission and distribution. Enhancing the existing power grids by adding intelligence and digital communications can reduce these losses while increasing reliability and power quality, improving responsiveness, efficiency, current and future demand, potentially reducing costs for the provider and consumer and providing the communication platform for new applications. STMicroelectronics is developing products that overcome these challenges.
Today ST solutions engage the Consumers, Utilities, Gov’t bodies, Design houses and equipment manufacturers together. Our partners from energy and utilities, transport and automobile, and safety and security industries are forming a network to identify the common needs for high-tech solutions within these industries using ST’s innovative devices and technology. This consortium of all stakeholders are performing various pilots in different conditions to provide a sustainable, cost-effective and viable solution to the power industry.
And this will be further be enhanced by the growth of cloud-based services. The solutions will include: Connectivity, Intelligent transport, Traffic Management, Smart Grid communications and Smart Metering.
Q: Please share a brief on products offered by STMicroelectronics for Smart City
A: At STMicroelectronics, we offer a complete set of semiconductor products to implement smart energy, water, heat and gas meters. The portfolio includes power-line communication modems and RF Transceivers for connectivity, 8- and 32-bit microcontrollers and 32-bit microprocessors, ASSPs for power metering, real-time clocks, Electrically Erasable Programmable Read-Only Memory (EEPROMs), power supply products, and security products.
Beside these components conceived to deal with each specific part of the application, super-integrated System on Chip (SoC) and System in Package (SiP) solutions are also available to manage the entire smart metering or smart grid node.
For example STCOMET platform is the industry’s first super-integrated complete smart-meter System-on-Chip (SoC) in the market that combines a precision metering front-end with programmable application processing and multi-standard PLC (Power-Line Communication) subsystems along with Line Driver and advanced security engine in a single device. The STCOMET10 SoC delivers unprecedented integration, leveraging ST’s expertise in PLC and smart-meter ICs gained over 20 years and via more than 60 million devices delivered. OEMs can use this unique future-proof platform to simplify smart-meter design, reduce time-to-market, and significantly reduce component count and bill-of-materials costs.
STCOMET has been massively deploying in the field and it’s been adopted in advanced Smart Grid programs worldwide such as SOGRID, and by ENEDIS French Utility aimed to develop a comprehensive communication system supporting smart-grid applications.
STCOMET SoC is provided with certified and interoperable turn-key communication protocol firmware compliant with all major OFDM power line communication standards such as PRIME or G3-PLC to enable multiple interoperable products from multiple manufacturers.
Taking the PLC roadmap further, ST also recently launched its new modular Power-Line Communication (PLC) modem chipset ST8500.The ST8500 is a fully programmable power line communication (PLC) modem system on chip (SoC), able to run any PLC protocol in the frequency band up to 500 kHz, packaged in an ultra-compact 7×7 mm QFN package. While STCOMET10 is suitable for fully integrated smart metering architectures, ST8500 is particularly suitable for modular smart grid systems, for example exploited in an add-on turn-key communication module interfacing whatever metering or controlling device.