Tendril has a post on their blog that talks about an emerging style of energy monitoring connectivity that they are calling a Hybrid-HAN (home area network). It envisions a dual network, one that utilizes a the Utility’s smart meter and a second provided b y the consumer; a wifi router, for example. They figure this is a good thing because it will unburden the smart meter from the growing list of sensors and controls that will become more popular as consumers learn to understand the benefits of monitoring their home environment.
The consumer side of the system uses something called the ZigBee Smart Energy Profile. Not sure about the Smart Energy Profile but Zigbee is a well known low power wireless protocol that I’ve been experimenting with for a low power, inexpensive monitoring system. Each Zigbee (aka xBee) module can transmit or receive signals that cover most residential buildings and costs about $20.
Interestingly the image shows the data from the consumers gateway (basically a specialized router) being fed back to the utility company but I’m not sure that’s the way it will play out.
In the future, data locality will not be so crucial. There are always concerns about this or that silo of data that stands alone and unaccessible from external sites. But as we grow to understand the benefits of shared data, any system will be able to aggregate date from any other system (with proper authentication of course).