SIP Forum sets sights on smart grids

Following the efforts of home networking consortia (HomePlug) and more recently the National Institute of Standards and Technology's (NIST) recognition that CableLabs' PacketCable standard is a good fit for Smart Grids, the SIP Forum has formed a Smart Grid Special Interest Group (SIG). The group will examine how the SIP protocol can be leveraged for various Smart Grid deployment scenarios, including the Home Area Network (HAN), Utilities' Operational Network, and Plug-In Vehicle (PEV). Among its many goals, the SIG will evaluate where SIP could fit into the to-do list crafted by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) in the "NIST Framework and Roadmap for Smart Grid Interoperability Standards Release 1.0."

Although the protocols used in the utilities network are markedly different than what are used in the telecom industry, the SIP Forum argues that the challenges that utilities are going to encounter in terms of managing sessions are very similar to what the telecom industry went through in the late 1990s. The SIP Forum adds that the 'communications overlay network' of the Smart Grid shares similar existing elements that the telecom industry uses to communicate with remote devices and the utility industry should examine how SIP can be applied to enhance communications between network elements (meters) in the Smart Grid.

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