October 19, 2007 -- Arkados, a provider of HomePlug powerline chipsets, and MainNet Communications, Ltd., a provider of broadband over powerline (BPL) communications platforms, have entered into a strategic collaboration to create commercial hardware and software solutions for "Smart-Grid" applications.
The companies say they plan to jointly develop BPL applications to improve the reliability and efficiency of electrical grids, connect consumer electronic devices over power lines, enable energy-saving initiatives, and deliver broadband content to homes and offices.
The details of the collaboration include a financial arrangement that gives MainNet incentives to purchase 600,000 of Arkados' HomePlug AV brand 200 Mbit/sec chipsets over the next three years. Subject to the terms of the agreement and the completion of certain milestones, MainNet is expected to pre-pay up to $500K for the delivery of Arkados solutions in calendar year 2008.
Combining MainNet's Layer 2 system with Arkados' core technology, the companies say the planned applications will offer easy and seamless access to Internet-based services for the consumer over the existing electrical grid, while also acting as a window into energy savings by offering "Command and Control" energy applications. These applications help to save operational costs through energy conservation, and could contribute to a greener environment, according to the companies.
The companies contend that the collaboration "represents an evolutionary step in an approach that provides utility companies with Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) solutions, and consumers with access to broadband communication services." Thus, the pairing of companies meets with the US national policy to support the modernization of the electricity transmission and distribution system to incorporate digital information and control technology, and to share real-time pricing information with electricity customers to achieve Advanced Smart-Grid and continual environmental improvement in the production and distribution of electricity (Smart-Grid Facilitation Act of 2007).
"MainNet found in Arkados a strong technology partner with the same vision of what powerline communications technology can achieve," comments Joe Marsilii, CEO of MainNet. "Using Arkados' HomePlug chips with our BPL smart repetition mechanism, utility companies will get a future proof, easy to install, cost-effective and secured Smart-Grid system. Concurrently, this scenario enables easy ways for consumers to access on-demand broadband services, which will help to further realize the vision of the connected home."
"Arkados is very impressed with the rich collection of functions that MainNet's Smart-Grid systems enable," offers Oleg Logvinov, president and CEO of Arkados. "Not only do they have an extraordinary portfolio of solutions that detect, measure, and report on energy use, but they have added the additional valuable component of interaction with the consumer. Their solutions enable consumer to be actively involved in energy saving, while using that same broadband communication channel for traffic updates, weather reports, stock quotes, and entertainment options. By bridging connected devices with connected services, Arkados and MainNet are moving toward implementing the vision that our companies share."
According to the companies, broadband powerline communications technology enables an Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) for improved Smart-Grid applications, including demand response and demand-side management for more efficient use of energy resources, detecting power outages, tampering and theft, load balancing, and the integration of "smart" appliances and consumer devices. All are designed to achieve intelligent grid and maximized revenues for utility companies worldwide.