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Finance

Gauging our future

As long as there has been digital tech, it's GIGO. Without data or faulty data, well, you get what you start with.
Written by Harry Fuller, Contributor on

As long as there has been digital tech, it's GIGO. Without data or faulty data, well, you get what you start with. Digital tech does not take cow manure and return tasty tomatoes. So even if your grandchildren are still powering this planet with coal and cow manure, it seems very likely that nearly everything that uses energy will be carefully gauged, metered and tracked. Think of an energy market as minutely timed and monitored as, say, the stock market.

And now the metering folks are getting organized. How do I know? They're having a convention, that's how. The conference is going on right now in Barcelona. You shudda been there. Topics at the conference include: the impact of regulation on your business case for smart metering; • are full smart meter deployments by 2022 is ambitious or reality? • how communication technology impacts smart grids; • how utilities can optimize business performance using smart meters; • how smart metering can benefit climate change; • why customers are going to accept smart operating appliances at home. One attendee is America's Teridian Semiconductor, a major player with system-on-chip (SoC) metering solutions for energy measurement, control and communication. Teridian’s metering chips are in use today by more than 50 metering manufacturers and on more than 100 metering platforms giving the company the largest market share of SoC metering solutions.

According to Teridian, the next major challenge for metering manufacturers is to take smart metering beyond measurement to build in communications functionality. This lets consumers monitor usage habits, and enables utility companies to develop creative billing strategies and send messages to homes with peak usage warnings, etc. Teridian is based in Irvine with a major office in Silicon Valley as well.

From the smart grid for electricity to irrigation systems to packet switching at the server farm to gas and fuel pipelines (both literal and figurative), the metering of our resource use seems inevitable.

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