SIP Forum Forms Smart Grid Special Interest Group

Mon Nov 2, 2009 1:13pm EST

* Reuters is not responsible for the content in this press release.

Initiative Aims to Explore the Role of SIP in the new Energy Infrastructure
SAN FRANCISCO--(Business Wire)--
The SIP Forum ( announced today that it has recently formed a
new Smart Grid Special Interest Group (SIG) with the focus of evaluating the
appropriateness of using SIP as a protocol for a number of Smart Grid areas,
including the Home Area Network (HAN), Utilities' Operational Network, and PEV
(Plug-In Vehicle) deployments. 

The Smart Grid is the modernization of the electricity grid using communication
technology with the primary goals of reducing energy consumption, reducing cost
(for utilities and consumers), increasing reliability and creating new services
for all participants in the value chain. 

While the current focus is on electricity, similar concepts can be applied to
other utility systems such as water, gas, etc. Such a modernization has recently
become a significant focus for governments, vendor communities (utility
companies and partners) as well as Industry/Standardization organizations such
as NIST, GridWise, IPSO, the IETF and IEEE. 

The Smart Grid architecture requires a `communications overlay network` which
can help facilitate `intelligent communication` (discovery, session
establishment, routing, addressing to name a few) between various nodes of the
heterogeneous Smart Grid network. 

Several of the standards bodies and organizations mentioned above are working
towards identifying standards and protocols that meet the goal of a robust,
secure and interoperable Smart Grid network. 

Challenges and Opportunities

The Smart Grid initiative is founded on the premise that communication between
devices using standard protocols will bring significant value to the electricity
industry. While there are many protocols and standards used by the electricity
industry, none address the need for a common, ubiquitous network. Also, the
majority of these protocols and standards are quite different from those used in
the telecommunications industry. 

The challenges facing the electricity industry are very similar to the
challenges that the telecommunications industry faced a decade ago which
subsequently led to the deployment of IP based networks and SIP as a de-facto
protocol for session management. 

It is the SIP Forum`s belief that the `communications overlay network` of the
Smart Grid industry is very similar to the communications network of the
telecommunications industry, and it would benefit the Smart Grid immensely to
assess how protocols such as SIP addressed the challenges in the
telecommunications industry and how it may be able to address their challenges. 

This will also greatly reduce the cycle of starting something new, making
mistakes and re-doing it all over again. Why not learn from the mistakes made by
the telecommunications industry for a similar problem? 

The focus of the SIP Forum SIG will be to evaluate the appropriateness of using
SIP as a protocol for the following Smart Grid areas:

* HAN (Home Area Network) - between devices and the Customer Energy Management
System (Customer EMS) (The smart meter could be the Customer EMS or a separate
* Utility`s Operational Network, which comprises the following:
a. NAN (Neighborhood Area Network) - between HAN edge devices to collection
points (smart meters and/or Customer EMSs are examples of HAN edge devices).
b. Backhaul-Network - that is responsible for transmission of the data between
the collection points to the utility core network.
c. Core Network - which includes the complete back-end utility subsystem
comprising of head-end systems, Meter Data Management Systems (MDMs), interface
to enterprise/business applications (SAP, Oracle etc), Multimedia communication
for field-force, surveillance etc. 
* PEV (Plugin Electric Vehicle) - between Vehicles to the back-office control
systems that manage charging, roaming, telemetry and other issues as well as
inter-vehicle communication (for further study).

Furthermore, the Smart Grid SIG will also evaluate the appropriateness of SIP in
the list of priorities identified by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission
(FERC) in the document "NIST Framework and Roadmap for Smart Grid
Interoperability Standards Release 1.0 (Draft) ," dated September 2009. 

The current priority areas as identified by the above mentioned document are:

* Demand and Response and Consumer Energy Efficiency 
* Wide Area Situational Awareness 
* Electric Storage 
* Electric Transportation 
* Advanced Metering Infrastructure 
* Distribution Grid Management 
* Cyber Security 
* Network Communications

About The SIP Forum

The SIP Forum is an IP communications industry association that engages in
numerous activities that promote and advance SIP-based technology, such as the
development of industry recommendations, the SIPit interoperability and testing
events, special interoperability workshops, educational seminars, special
interest groups, and general promotion of SIP in the industry. One of the
Forum's notable technical activities is the development of the SIPconnect
Technical Recommendation -- a standards-based recommendation that provides
detailed guidelines for direct IP peering and interoperability between IP PBXs
and VoIP service provider networks. The SIPconnect Compliant Certification
Program is an associated program through which eligible companies can gain
SIPconnect validation and the right to license the use of the SIP Forum's
'SIPconnect Compliant' certification mark -- the official brand of the leading
standard for SIP Trunking products and services. For more information, please

For more information about the Smart Grid SIG, and about joining in the effort,
please contact Marc Robins, SIP Forum Managing Director, at +1-718-548-7245 or
by email at using the Subject line "Smart Grid SIG."

Elevate Communications
John Gates/Andrew Hickey

Copyright Business Wire 2009