In order to build the smart grid, devices need to communicate with each other and with the utility’s network. Unfortunately, with the various competing standards (e.g., ZigBee, HomePlug, Wi-Fi, Z-Wave, etc.), it’s hard to decide which protocol to use if you are trying to develop a smart appliance, like a washer and dryer. The USNAP Alliance has helped smart appliance makers by creating a universal interface which allows manufacturers to snap in modules for the communications standard they’d like to use. Changing standards is as easy as changing a module. Just snap in a module for ZigBee, for example, and your appliance will seamlessly communicate with your other ZigBee home devices as if it was always designed so.
NTS has been selected by USNAP as the lab to perform certification testing on devices developed to the USNAP standard. The test specification is currently being finalized in collaboration with the USNAP Alliance in order to verify the interfaces on devices and help develop an eco-system of devices supporting USNAP.
The USNAP standard provides a standard communications interface between consumer electronics products, such as meters, in-home displays programmable communication thermostats and major load appliances such as electric water heaters, HVAC, washing machines, and pool pumps. The latest version of the standard has been designed to allow Smart Grid appliance manufacturers to move forward with the development and release of smart appliances without being locked into any particular communications standard. The specification is now also on the fast track to become an internationally recognized standard as CEA-2045 through the Consumer Electronics Association.
NTS was selected in June 2012 as the testing and certification lab partner for the USNAP Alliance. NTS was also selected at that time to develop a test tool to assist in the development and certification of USNAP products This test tool will be available for sell from both USNAP and NTS to assist manufacturers in the testing of their products in the development phase to help speed certification and ensure compliance.
If you’d like more information or would like to get a copy of the tool as soon as it’s available, please contact us.