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Fast and easy connection to smart grid devices

20 March 2009

Digi International has introduced iDigi Energy, a wireless M2M bundle optimised for energy services providers. iDigi Energy includes the hardware, hosted software and services necessary to quickly and easily integrate meters, load control modules, displays, relays, thermostats and other energy assets commonly required for demand response, AMI, and other Smart Grid offerings. Energy service applications connect to the hosted software component of iDigi Energy via a simple Web Services interface. This dramatically simplifies developing and deploying energy management services.

“The iDigi Energy solution was instrumental in our launch of the TXU Energy iThermostatTM energy conservation program,” says Patrick James, director, TXU Energy. “It has enabled us to leverage existing enterprise software service platforms and ultimately integrate the deploying AMI networks in Texas. We were able to move from concept to deployment very quickly. The platform’s flexibility will also allow us to rapidly develop and deploy a broad range of new energy management services to help our customers better manage their energy costs.”

“With the rollout of iDigi Energy, we are making it fast, easy and inexpensive for utilities to enable two-way communications with their home and business customers,” says Joe Dunsmore, CEO, Digi International. “iDigi Energy lowers the barriers for companies to build robust, next generation information services by removing the complexities of remote device communication. This frees energy service providers to focus on the business of energy.”

Utilities have long been in the forefront with regards to investments in remote monitoring technology - originally with SCADA and now with AMI and Smart Grids. In Aberdeen Group’s recent research survey, responding utility organisations indicate that 36% of connected assets are remote versus 27% a year ago. However, these organisations also indicate that 74% of its assets would benefit from remote connectivity.

“This opportunity remains untapped primarily due to perceptions regarding the complexity and cost of setting-up remote networks and the significant IT resource requirements pertaining to integration, maintenance and security management,” said Sumair Dutta, senior research analyst, Aberdeen Group. “Comprehensive M2M solutions such as iDigi Energy that provide the platform and related connectivity services to seamlessly tie into devices and applications will go a long way in alleviating implementation hurdles and in expediting ROI.”

At the heart of iDigi Energy is the iDigi Platform, a Platform as a Service (PaaS) that quickly and easily connects remote assets to a customer’s applications. The iDigi Platform runs on a grid of Digi-managed servers. As an on-demand model, customers pay only for services consumed, conserving capital and requiring no infrastructure. Customers login to securely access and manage their energy device assets. Optimised for wireless communication technologies, Digi’s patented connectivity software establishes and manages secure communication between organisations’ applications and their remote equipment, ensuring high availability and performance for both legacy and emerging energy management applications.

iDigi Energy includes Digi’s comprehensive family of wired and wireless communication products that integrate easily with remote energy assets, including cellular gateways and a wide variety of wireless endpoint modules. iDigi Energy also features ready-to-run, energy-focused starter applications that demonstrate the power of the platform for the energy provider.

“The iDigi Platform has become an integral part of our new Apollo Demand Response Management System,” says Bud Vos, CTO, Comverge. “The Apollo platform is designed to support traditional demand response systems in addition to AMI and Smart Grid solutions. The iDigi Platform allows our utility partners to deploy Smart Grid solutions today with the flexibility of migrating to future networks as technology develops.”

The iDigi Energy system provides device level support for numerous smart energy devices including thermostats, smart plugs, in-home displays, gateways and meters. Additional energy assets can be quickly integrated through the iDigi platform. iDigi Energy also includes device design services and wireless implementation services such as network design, site surveys, planning and optimisation. From device design and integration to lifecycle services, iDigi Energy provides all of the communication components an energy services provider needs to bring their solution to market quickly, effectively and with a plan to support new energy services.

“We have received tremendous interest in iDigi Energy,” added Dunsmore. “We already have a sizeable new business pipeline and anticipate strong customer demand for these innovative services.”

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