ECN publication
Deliverable D5 : state of the art and initial analysis of PLC services
Kamphuis, I.G.; Warmer, C.J.; Ottoson, H.; Lindell, G.; Sweet, P.; Akkermans, H.; Dickinson, J.; Hines, D.; Nicholson, P.
Published by: Publication date:
ECN 1-6-2000
ECN report number: Document type:
ECN-C--00-092 ECN publication
Number of pages: Full text:
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The authors identified and discussed three major categories of newservices enabled by PowerLine Communication (PLC) technology: (1) broadband communication access; (2) inhome building services; (3) services to core utility operations. PLC offers an alternative last mile access technology for broadband telecommunication services. Some of these services are well-known and their business case is therefore well established (e.g., telephony, IP data services). Other services (large-scale mobile communications, IP media content delivery) are now quickly being developed and rolled out on the basis of heavily competing access technologies of which PLC is one. The baseline services have been outlined in Chapter 5, and more advanced ones have been discussed in Chapter 6. Chapter 7 has put together available public source information on customer service and operational cost issues, while Chapter 3 has considered relevant frequency standards issues to be dealt with. Field trials as well as market studies in this area will be carried out in the further stages of the PALAS project. Another major innovative application area for PLC-based services concerns in-home IP networks in buildings, offices, and residential homes. This area is especially quickly developing in the USA and, to a lesser extent, Scandinavia. A wide range of next-generation Internet services for 'intelligent' homes and buildings is envisioned here, ranging from automatic energy and building management, security applications, health and elderly care, and other information, communication, and control at-a-distance applications. Especially interesting for service providers is the opportunity here to combine access and in-home network capabilities for service and systems integration. Discussions and state of the art literature surveys are found in Chapters 6 and 7. Related European projects are surveyed in Chapter 8. Also in this area the PALAS project is planning to look at field trials and market studies. Third, a major application area for PLC-based innovation are the core business processes of the utility sector itself. Here we see that strong business interest (because it involves core utility operations and infrastructure asset management) already exists, together with a background of well-understood telemetry services (considered in Chapter 5). Moreover, the technological risks are limited as it mainly involves narrowband PLC requirements. However, due to the deregulation and liberalization of the sector, coupled to the Internet opportunities, the utility business landscape is changing drastically. Essentially, the energy value chain is being deconstructed and reorganized in different ways, similar to what we observe in other industrial c-business sectors. PLC can be a key technology to achieve this, and some of the future PALAS field trials focus on this area of the 'e-utility'. This is discussed in Chapter 9. Thus, PLC has the potential to bring the utility sector as a whole into the new era of Internet and electronic business. refs.

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