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3/18/2008
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ZigBee-Powered Meter Measures Electrical Consumption

EOL's plogg device measures consumption and relays it back to management system to help control energy costs.

Vendors are fond of the "you can't manage what you can't measure" mantra. So as IT tries to go green, a new ZigBee wireless device lets enterprises measure the electricity consumption of appliances and devices to manage them better.

Energy Optimizers Ltd. (EOL) said Tuesday that its new "plogg" device is a combination smart meter plug and data logger. It stores the measured electricity data and wirelessly communicates the information to a PC, mobile phone, or building management system anywhere in the world via the Internet.

The plogg can be attached to any electrical appliance or device that uses a standard U.K. 13-amp or European 16-amp plug. A plogg for the North American market is under evaluation, EOL said.

ZigBee uses the IEEE 802.15.4-2003 wireless standard and is a low-cost, low-power wireless control and monitoring technology.

Plogg meters support a range of other wireless-based energy saving devices as well, such as temperature and light level sensors, allowing enterprises to automate functions that consume more electricity than necessary.

According to recent research from the British government and the Carbon Trust, people can reduce as much as 15% of the electricity they use by employing smart meters to manage energy demands, EOL claimed.

The plogg combines Ember's ZigBee-based "system-on-chip" transceiver and wireless mesh networking software on a Telegesis module. The plogg can act as an end device, a router, or ZigBee coordinator. A network of ploggs can monitor a home or entire building, EOL explained.

In addition to measuring power consumption, the plogg's real-time clock function allows time-of-use metering information for multi-rate applications. Data logging intervals can be set from one minute to one month. The meter samples voltage and current signals 50 times per AC cycle, at a sampling rate of 2520 Hz, EOL added.

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