Google joins IPSO Alliance to help consumers be green citizens

Google joins consortium that advocates the Internet of things to boost its PowerMeter service

Google has joined the IPSO Alliance, a consortium of technology vendors promoting the use of the Internet Protocol for "smart object communications," once referred to as "the Internet of things." The vision of this group is that everything from appliances to cars are plugged into an IP network and can communicate via private networks or over the Internet.

As you might expect, the year-old group is also a cheerleader for IPv6 adoption. Should every object that consumes power also be equipped with its own IP address, we are going to need more of those puppies.

In addition to Google, Fujitsu also joined IPSO. The IPSO alliance now boasts 53 members including Bosch, Cisco, Ericsson, Intel, SAP, Sun Microsystems, Texas Instruments and now Google and Fujitsu.

According a press release issued by the IPSO, Google's interest in the organization is to equip devices so that they can participate in Google's PowerMeter application, which tracks power usage.

"Google's participation in IPSO is a result of its expectation that many devices will become part of the Internet environment," said Vint Cerf, Google's Vice President and Chief Internet Evangelist. "The IPv4 and IPv6 Internet protocols are well established and used for this purpose. Google's PowerMeter application makes use of this idea to help Smart Grid users capture and analyze their energy usage information."  

The Google PowerMeter is a free online tool that allows users to view their homes’ energy usage. It is supported by a handful of energy companies such as TXU Energy and San Diego Gas and Electric, but according to Google, it requires either an advanced electricity meter... or a consumer-owned electricity management device, and many of today's so-called smart meters don't display information to the consumer. Google is working with device manufacturers to make them PowerMeter-enabled.

“The addition of Google, and its PowerMeter service, to the Alliance really completes the Smart Grid circle within IPSO,” explained Geoff Mulligan, Chairman of the IPSO Alliance.  “Now, not only will consumers be able to use the products and services of IPSO Alliance member companies to connect their home to the grid, they also will be able to monitor how those appliances, and their entire home, are consuming energy.”

Some of the IPSO’s other members would be those that want to put their widgets on the Internet. These include the makers of smart meters of all types, from consumer electricity to industrial gas, electric and water meters. Echelon and The Elster Group are two examples.

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