Washington State Public Utility Selects IntraCoastal's Utility Automation Solution
Field trials of IntraCoastal's Utility Access Device, featuring National Semiconductor's Geode technology, brings rural Washington residents closer to "Home of the Future"
Santa Clara, CA --
IntraCoastal System Engineering Corporation (CDNX:ISY), a provider of low cost power line communication solutions, announced today that Washington State's Mason County Public Utility District 3 (PUD3) has selected IntraCoastal's Utility Access Device. The Utility Access Device is a service gateway that will allow the utility district in rural Washington to communicate with all meters within its service area, the first step in enabling these homes with a broadband Internet connection to the outside world.
The field trials, which began this month, are the first step in a partnership between IntraCoastal and National Semiconductor (NYSE:NSM). IntraCoastal's Utility Access Device, a primary component of IntraCoastal's utility automation solution, is a small, fanless unit powered by National's Geode™ microprocessor technology. Each device, installed pole-top, will link two to three homes to the utility, bringing many benefits to both the utility and its customers.
For the utility, the primary benefits are automatic meter reading and demand-side management capabilities, two critical features that utilities are currently looking for to remotely administer and manage consumer's energy consumption. For the consumer, the benefits include a high speed, always-on Internet connection enabling advanced capabilities such as home automation and connection with information appliances and smart devices.
"IntraCoastal's Utility Automation Solution is exactly what Mason County has been looking for," said Jeff Skinner, Telecommunications Engineer for Mason County PUD3. "IntraCoastal's solution meets our current automatic meter reading requirements and allows for future growth, while still maintaining a reasonable cost per point." In addition to utility purposes, PUD3's fiber backbone will be made available to third parties looking to offer voice, video and data services to the residents of Mason County.
National Semiconductor's Geode microprocessor is designed with the right balance of power, price, and performance to enable service gateways to perform as intelligent connections for the home. In addition to utility-oriented services, these gateways will also enable services such as firewalls, parental control and entertainment delivery.
"Having our Geode technology enable energy conservation, cost savings and rural Internet access is an exciting development for National," said Jeff Waters, Director of the Consumer Access Business Unit at National Semiconductor. "IntraCoastal's Utility Access Device is a great example of how an information appliance can bring significant value to the consumer, and we're glad to be part of it."
Washington State's Mason County PUD3 is one of 14 rural non-profit, locally owned utilities in Washington State that form the Northwest Open Access Network Consortium (NoaNet). The members of the NoaNet consortium have licensed Bonneville Power Administration's (BPA) fiber optic backbone and plan to lay fiber directly to over 5 million of their end-users. The fiber fulfills one of NoaNet's primary goals, ensuring that residences of rural America are not left behind in technological advancements.
"Access to the home is a major stumbling block for utilities that require automatic meter reading and demand side management capabilities," said Hafez Panju, Vice President for Systems and Production at IntraCoastal. "Our Utility Access Device addresses this issue. As we roll out our solution, appliance and consumer electronic manufacturers will be given a reason to produce smart devices using our technology."
IntraCoastal System Engineering Corporation owns patented proprietary Power Line Communication systems based on spread spectrum as well as narrowband BPSK technologies. These technologies have been under development since 1992. Applications for these technologies include telemetry for automatic meter reading, home networking, and command and control applications.
About Mason County Public Utility District 3
Mason County PUD No. 3 is a publicly-owned utility serving 28,118 electric customers. Its service area covers 567 square miles, most of which is in Mason County. Electric service is also provided to small areas of south Kitsap, east Grays Harbor, and southwest Pierce Counties. In addition to its electric business, the PUD started developing a wholesale telecommunications business based on fiber optic technologies in 2000. The rapid pace of this telecommunications business development continues today.
About National Semiconductor
National Semiconductor is the premier analog company driving the information age. Combining real-world analog and state-of-the-art digital technology, the company is focused on the fast growing markets for wireless handsets; displays; information appliances; and information infrastructure. With headquarters in Santa Clara, California, National reported sales of $2.1 billion for its last fiscal year and has about 9,800 employees worldwide.