Deregulation has provided a powerful incentive for energy utility companies to pursue new services, both to retain customers and add new revenue streams. That is particularly true in Europe, where the deregulation process has moved at a rapid pace and is nearly complete.
Sensel AB is one example of this development. Sensel is a subsidiary of Vattenfall AB, Sweden’s largest electrical utility. In a move designed to build a sustainable competitive advantage in this changing market climate, Vattenfall established Sensel to be the access provider for a multitude of continuously evolving service options. Vattenfall, through the Sensel platform, became the world’s first utility to announce the rollout of a complete telemetry e-services program to its customers. Over the next two years, Sensel plans to expand its smart home offerings to more than 500,000 homes in Sweden and throughout Northern Europe.
Informed by Vattenfall’s years of research and experience in the field of remote control of electrical appliances, Sensel looked to Coactive Networks, a pioneer in the development of residential gateways, to provide the Internet connectivity devices that would enable the range of smart home and telemetry e- services.
The sophisticated gateway technology of the Coactive ConnectorÂ® was tailored to deliver several key features required in this ambitious undertaking:
– Multiple home network support — Connections to appliances and devices in the home are primarily accomplished using the existing electrical wiring, but certain home systems were best connected using a twisted pair connection. The gateway was required to support both of these media.
– Dial-up and broadband access — The gateway supports communication outside the home by sharing the consumer’s telephone line, thereby enabling deployment to the entire territory, but it can also support customers with DSL or cable.
– Security and privacy — A sophisticated system that includes user ID, PIN code, a special Sensel-key and 168-bit encryption creates an impenetrable wall between service providers and eliminates any possibility of home data being compromised.
– Scalability and Reliability — Millions of sites and large numbers of applications can be efficiently managed and maintained without a single bottleneck or point of failure due to the incorporation of standard network management protocols and the unique distributed object approach of Coactive’s IOConnect Architecture™.
– Customized enclosure — To build the Sensel brand, the gateway was delivered with a customized cover specifically designed for European homes.
Various service providers work in collaboration with Sensel, and can download software to the gateway to configure and upgrade communications with specific appliances and systems in the customer home.
– An appliance manufacturer might have a specific agreement to monitor refrigerator temperatures, perform service checks, log and transmit content data from bar code scans, and even suggest menus and recipes based on household buying preferences.
– A home insurance provider might offer a lower rate based on the existence of certain safety measures, such as active leak and moisture detection monitors and security systems that pinpoint intrusions, trigger deterrent systems such as lights, and send alerts to homeowners as well as law enforcement.
Customers can communicate directly with appliances, devices, and systems in their homes by going to a private interactive web page where clicking on service icons allows them to monitor status and change settings. Customers can also use any touch tone telephone to access services, messages or alarms.
Since mid-August 1999, a pilot program has been successful in providing the Sensel smart building services to 50 residential customers and six apartment buildings in Stockholm.
“Sensel is very pleased to be working with Coactive on such a large project involving cutting-edge technology. We feel it’s a validation, not only for our business plan, but also for the business case for offering added value e-services in the marketplace,” stated Bjorn Haggquist, managing director of Sensel.
“The building of this integrated e-solution network supports Coactive’s position as the premier supplier of full-service residential gateways,” said David Gaw, president of Coactive Networks. “It also demonstrates the effectiveness of Coactive technology in providing a cost-effective, scalable solution for offering a new class of added-value e-services to commercial and residential customers.”
About Coactive’s IOConnect Architecture
Coactive’s IOConnect Architecture™ is a patent- pending embedded distributed object technology which provides the reliability, scalability, and manageability required for complex and large-scale systems. By abstracting control information, providing a flexible environment for data translation and manipulation, and publishing a powerful distributed object interface, the IOConnect Architecture addresses the complex issues surrounding real-time device access while streamlining system development.
About Coactive Networks
Coactive Networks is the leading provider of residential gateways for connecting the Internet to all of the devices in homes and businesses. The Coactive ConnectorÂ® family of gateways enables the Internet to move beyond connecting computers, and enter our lives with a new class of telemetry e-services that are real, personal, and essential for consumers and businesses. Dedicated to enabling the Internet to reach all of the devices, appliances, and computers in homes and businesses, Coactive is a privately held corporation based in Sausalito, CA. Detailed information on Coactive is available on the World Wide Web at http://www.coactive.com .
Sensel is a subsidiary of Vattenfall, one of the largest energy companies in northern Europe, known as a company on the forefront of technology and innovation. The Sensel vision is to become market leader in the emerging business of Smart Homes, building on the synergy of service provider alliances and rapidly evolving media and product technologies. Sensel plans to expand its services to more than 500,000 homes, both in Sweden and throughout Northern Europe, by 2002. Information about Sensel is available on the World Wide Web at http://www.sensel.se .
Coactive, the Coactive Logo, Connecting Networks to the Real World, Coactive Connector, and IOConnect Architecture are trademarks or registered trademarks of Coactive Networks, Inc. in the US and other countries. All other brands and names are the property of their respective owners.
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