Rethinking wireless networks for our IoT-enabled future

What if IoT-enabled devices could communicate with each other on the same Wi-Fi network without the need for additional infrastructure?

For global communities, businesses and individuals, this is just one of the endless opportunities for this multi-billion-dollar market of innovative and connected products. In fact, the number of connected devices is expected to reach 24 billion by 2020, with the total of mobile connected devices reaching 12 billion.

In particular, the rapidly expanding Internet of Things (IoT) is serving to shape the functionality and the future of the smart grid, providing utilities with real-time, actionable data and visibility into the operation of their systems. Utilities are able to improve customer engagement, and also empower their customers to make more informed choices about their energy usage to help them save money and optimize the “automation” of their homes.

Yet, the challenge with the smart grid is that it requires specific technologies that support a broad variety of electrical services and applications. And technologies currently in use, such as 802.15.4g, Zigbee (6LoWPAN), and Broadband over Power Line (BPL), are holding back progress given their latency issues, limited scalability, and in some cases low bandwidth. To enable a true IoT architecture, it is critical to construct a stable and reliable communications network, one which leverages utility analytics while also providing a wireless, scalable, secure and mesh-enabled environment compatible with current consumer-facing technologies.

This mesh network needs to enable the seamless integration of the growing influx of Wi-Fi enabled products – such as those integral to smart city infrastructure, like smart street lighting. And now that there are more mobile devices on the planet than people, this concept becomes even more important when considering the possibility to securely allow personal Web-connected mobile devices to engage with the mesh network.

At Delta we’re rethinking wireless networks for the IoT-enabled future. Our Delta Smart Grid Network (DSGN™) utilizes a Wi-Fi-based WWAN (wireless wide area network) mesh with advanced power metering hardware and software, delivering electrical distribution monitoring and pioneering analytics within a robust and secure, cloud-based network.

Delta’s solution builds out the Wi-Fi network – essentially creating a large geographical hot-spot. Utilities are able to deliver actionable data back to their customers, utilizing the customer’s digital device of choice and accessing the same wireless mesh network. Given the rapid growth of the IoT and the wide variety of consumer-based, Wi-Fi home-automation products now on the market, this capability is compelling and critical.

The application of this Wi-Fi-centric smart grid strategy will empower utilities and their customers with more collaborative, efficient local energy management, and ensure they are equipped for whatever the future for IoT may hold.