The Universal Communications Module (UCM), is a a box outside the of electric meter and will use open standards to communicate to a variety of smart grid devices in development over any type of local or wide area network.
SmartSynch's technology was designed to work with existing technology while upgrading the flexibility of the grid through advanced energy management, according to the company.
SmartSynch is working with Duke Energy to implement the wireless solution. David Mohler, CTO and VP of Duke Energy, refers to the UCM as being a "future-proof' solution" for their smart grid initiative.
SmartSynch's technology for adding new functionality can enable utilities to physically modify or replace meters. The UCM works to communicate load profiles and controls, power quality monitoring, distribution automation, and stand-by generator control. The device is also intended to work alongside residential smart metering programs, allowing homeowners to adjust and adapt their personal energy usage. For example, the temperature on a "smart" air-conditioner could be automatically raised while you're at work to save on energy costs.
The UCM network card units can communicate over the Internet via the existing network in a home or commercial site. With the smart grid attention from the Recovery Plan, which offers $4.5 billion in grants for technology investment, the need for open standards has been impressed upon smart grid devices makers including SmartSynch.
SmartSynch has already worked with more than 100 major North American utilities with their SmartMeter and SmartBox devices. SmartSynch last month partnered with AT&T to use cellular networks to provide a communications channel between utilities and 10,000 homes.