Feeds

New UK 'leccy meters remotely run via Voda 2G

Also have ZigBee for total control of your home

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

British Gas is to deploy meters with embedded mobile phones, and Zigbee networking, to ensure we know how much electricity we're using, and they do too.

The smart meters use Vodafone's 2G network to send back readings and allow British Gas to see exact levels of 'leccy consumption at any time, while the Zigbee connectivity pushes the same information to a touch-screen display we can use to set our own targets for saving energy and see how much our solar cells are contributing.

Unlike clip-on systems, which estimate how much energy is flowing but can be fitted to any supply by wrapping them around the incoming cable, the new system requires a replacement meter – but that's rather the point as this is all part of the industry's push for greater control over our electricity consumption.

Both the "pebble" display and the meter itself can have their software updated remotely, and the use of Zigbee means that instructions could be sent to (for example) a Zigbee-enabled freezer or washing machine, to reduce consumption at short notice or run when there's surplus power available in the grid.

But that's for the future: today it is just about getting the remotely readable meters into homes, which will apparently start next month, and letting people know how much energy they're using on a minute-by-minute basis.

Mobile networks aren't ideal for such things, as the White Space crowd keep reminding us. GPRS has a massive communications overhead, and connectivity won't stretch into every basement meter, not to mention the low priority attributed to data traffic. Mobile-data kit around Heathrow stopped working during last winter's snow troubles as travellers called home and knocked M2M communications off the network, for a few days.

But White Space technology isn't available yet, and with the government is committed to getting smart meters into every home by 2019, the cellular operators are the only ones able to provide blanket coverage today - even if the blanket is a little moth-eaten. ®

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
TEEN RAMPAGE: Kids in iPhone 6 'Will it bend' YouTube 'prank'
iPhones bent in Norwich? As if the place wasn't weird enough
Consumers agree to give up first-born child for free Wi-Fi – survey
This Herod network's ace – but crap reception in bullrushes
Crouching tiger, FAST ASLEEP dragon: Smugglers can't shift iPhone 6s
China's grey market reports 'sluggish' sales of Apple mobe
Sea-Me-We 5 construction starts
New sub cable to go live 2016
New EU digi-commish struggles with concepts of net neutrality
Oettinger all about the infrastructure – but not big on substance
PEAK IPV4? Global IPv6 traffic is growing, DDoS dying, says Akamai
First time the cache network has seen drop in use of 32-bit-wide IP addresses
EE coughs to BROKEN data usage metrics BLUNDER that short-changes customers
Carrier apologises for 'inflated' measurements cockup
Comcast: Help, help, FCC. Netflix and pals are EXTORTIONISTS
The others guys are being mean so therefore ... monopoly all good, yeah?
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.