Veille sur le comptage intelligent / smart metering

mardi 16 juin 2009

Utility Smart Network Access Port Alliance (or U-SNAP Alliance)

Alliance nouvellement créée pour développer une interface de communication standard aux réseaux domestiques existants

Introducing the U-SNAP Alliance

The term U-SNAP is an acronym for Utility Smart Network Access Port, a simple, yet cost effective solution that enables any HAN (Home Area Network) standard, present and future, to use any vendor's Smart Meter as a gateway into the home, without adding additional hardware in the meter. By providing industry with a protocol independent serial interface, it is possible to extend the Smart Grid directly to energy aware consumer products.

The U-SNAP framework uses the AMI communications inherent in every Smart Meter to make a second hop into a U-SNAP equipped product. This innovative approach frees vendors from having to create derivatives of standard products in order to support the various protocols used in utility AMI deployments. For utilities, this means that they can select the Smart Meter that best fits its metering goals and also have confidence that that same meter, with a code download, can meet its present and future goals. For regulators, this means that AMI programs can be deployed quickly, while addressing concerns about compatibility and field upgrades.

The U-SNAP Alliance is rapidly gaining support by Smart Grid stakeholders worldwide, including utilities, metering & AMI suppliers, device manufacturers, industry consultants and regulators. In order to accelerate standardization efforts, a specification is nearly completed and consumers should be able to purchase compatible products early this year.


The mission of the Utility Smart Network Access Port (U-SNAP) Alliance is to create a protocol independent serial interface standard that enables any HAN (Home Area Network) standard, present and future, to use any vendor's Smart Meter as a gateway into the home, without adding additional hardware in the Smart Meter. The U-SNAP Alliance fosters collaboration and education among utilities, AMI suppliers, HAN venders, industry consultants, academics and regulators who seek interoperable, secure and cost effective solutions for extending the Smart Grid to energy aware consumer products.

The purpose of the U-SNAP Alliance is to establish a non-profit mutual benefit (501(c)6) corporation to create a low cost, connector standard for linking Home Area Network (HAN) devices to Smart Meters. This framework will leverage existing industry standards wherever possible.

U-SNAP Specification

The U-SNAP specification defines the hardware interface, physical dimensions, data transfer, message contents and protocol specifics for HAN devices. The root of the specification relies on the Serial Peripheral Interface (SPI) port found on most communication chips as the transport layer.

The goal is to provide a very inexpensive interface to enable virtually any consumer product to be connected to a HAN. The connector and plastic housing are expected to cost less than $0.10. Adding a communication chip and support circuitry will add another $5 to $10 in cost depending on the technology of choice. The card itself is approximately 1.5 inches square (3.81cm), making it small enough to fit into virtually any energy consuming product.

Since the U-SNAP specification is protocol agnostic, it can support a wide range of current and future device protocols. There are several U-SNAP cards available now through traditional retail channels, supporting ZigBee, Z-Wave, RDS (Radio Data System), WiFi and FlexNet. U-SNAP cards for other industry protocols are under development.

The U-SNAP specification will support a variety of device classes to enable a full-range of energy-aware consumer products to be attached to the HAN. Device classes for thermostats and in-home displays are available in the preliminary specification. Members of the U-SNAP Alliance will evolve the specification to include other popular device classes over time.

Device security will be tied to the specific device protocol selected. Most protocols contain a unique ID or address, security firmware, and a binding mechanism. The intention of the spec is to use industry best practices and existing standards to ensure HAN security, device registration and authentication.

A preliminary U-SNAP technical specification is being drafted. If you would like to receive an email notification about specification availability, please register.

Press Releases
April 29, 2009 U-SNAP Alliance Launched to Extend Smart Grid

The U-SNAP Alliance is being formed by industry stakeholders interested in enabling the market for energy aware consumer products that can connect to Smart Meters. The Alliance is forming now. Anyone interested in joining can register

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