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Smart Design for Smart Energy
"Much of the smart energy business is not about inventing something new," says Mike Bourton, Co-Founder and VP of Business Development for Grid2Home. "Our customers need to be able to take existing products and add a smart energy layer on top. This is critical for OEMs who, more and more, have most of their product investment in software and cannot afford to change hardware platforms just to support power management standards."
Grid2Home's Smart Energy 2.0 solution enables existing devices to connect to the smart grid and be intelligently managed. Several layers abstract the application from the actual implementation details and offers tremendous flexibility, enabling developers to focus on their application rather than low-level connectivity details. Specifically, Grid2Home’s code will work regardless of the operating systems (OS), connectivity technology (i.e., Wi-Fi, ZigBee®, etc.), or processor in use. Grid2Home has achieved this by designing its code with portability in mind.
This flexibility is extremely important for time-to-market and system reliability. Smart Energy code is often provided to OEMs as object code which has been precompiled for their platform. If Smart Energy code has to be manually ported to a new processor, this process can take months for the Smart Energy vendor to complete and potentially introduces bugs into the system. In addition, modifying the tool chain for the new platform will require time and resources as well. Smart Energy vendors who take this approach have limited ability to offer OEMs new platforms given the investment required for each new system configuration. If the processor an OEM’s product is based on is not supported, the code will have to be ported.
"Vendors who have to port their code can only support major platforms which represent large markets for them," said Bourton. "In contrast, by using IAR Embedded Workbench, Grid2Home is able to supply the market with one-offs that would otherwise be extremely costly to support."
Grid2Home’s solution was designed to be seamlessly portable and provides OEMs with code that works on the platform of their choice. To support a new platform requested by a customer, Grid2Home only needs to recompile code using IAR Embedded Workbench. The compiler takes into account the processor, OS, and connectivity technology and immediately creates the required code. In this way, Grid2Home can provide solutions for a wide range of platforms without having to modify their code or require their customers to invest in learning a whole new development toolset.
"We choose to standardize on IAR Embedded Workbench because we wanted to support the widest range of processors with a single tool chain," said Bourton. "With IAR Systems, we’ve been able to do just that. The result is that we can provide reliable code quickly to our customers. Since neither we nor our customers have to port code, development time is substantially reduced. Designs based on our code are typically completed in 2-4 weeks, not 2-4 months."