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Shaping the history and the future of IDIS Association - part 2

For IDIS, Jovan Vujasinovic


IDIS Association's decade long journey with Mr Dieter Brunner was a great experience that was full of success, during which he became the role model and leader of our organization. His expertise and analytical skills are still invaluable to all of us. So today, we continue the conversation about his ideas and vision of the future of smart metering.


How do you see the smart metering market situation now?

There is the second wave in the Nordics now. Most of the European countries are either finishing the rollout, like France and Spain or, are in the middle of the rollout, like Austria and Croatia. Germany has taken a different approach to smart metering, which just started. All this will continue over the next several years. There are very specific meters that are deployed, like Linky in France. It is similar in the Netherlands and Belgium. In the UK SMETS2 smart meters have again become specific for that market, but it's rolling.
Some countries are finishing some of the first step and some countries have started the second step. The whole Nordics, Sweden, Finland, and Norway will finish the first level now, but the second level will start faster because of the great potential of the smart grid, smart infrastructure application and demands on the meter research. This is a good business to be in for the next ten, fifteen or even twenty years.


What do you think, what is the most significant impact of the IDIS standards on companies you work with?

Most significantly, you can concentrate on interoperable and interchangeable equipment. It is very clear what you are going to do. And the base for the meters is built on the DLMS and the IDIS standard. That's the foundation to work from.
Don't jump on one RF technology or IDIS, and then look into a different standard like Meter&More or former Echelon protocol file. The biggest job, for us, has been looking into how to create one standardised way of exchanging data, interchanging meters, equipment, etc..


Is expanding to a smart environment and infrastructure a good direction? In the area of renewable selective practice, we do not have much standardisation.

You don't have anything to lose. If you look into smart infrastructure, how Siemens defines it, there are smart buildings, smart cities, etc. The great potential is there. There won't be anything that works through the whole thing, so there is an open space. And I think for the next twenty to thirty years this is a gorgeous field to explore. So, there is a big field, but the one thing that is there is the opportunity. The other thing is that you need a workforce to do that, to start the thought process, to get the standardization rolling and attract memberships.


However, looking at smart metering today, we have so many standards. There is IDIS, but then there is also Link, Meters and more, Prime... How to avoid it in the Smart City?

IDIS is not a standard in itself, but a complimentary specification to what is standardised in DLMS. I think it's the same in all other areas. There's a lot of open space and as IDIS association we should coordinate more with DLMS, which have big plans for all those areas with communication, simulators and other things. We have to see what are their plans and if we can align. What is it for us as IDIS to do there, what's the space for our memberships, what's the interest? If there is a market, let's do it. If you look at it over the next ten years, I think there is a big opportunity.


What is the advantage, for example, for the company you work - Iskraemeco, which is very active in the Association? They pushed the standardisation process in Europe, for example, just from one side. From the other, you had Echelon, who are not interested in standardisation, they have their own standards.

I can tell you that most of the other standardisation groups have approached IDIS to say 'can we somehow coordinate'? Everybody understands that you need one standard, one way that leads to interoperability. It doesn't help if you have different levels or different standards.


After ten years, everybody makes the bill of what energy and capital they invested and what they get for that, and many of them have the question; do they have the interest to invest in IDIS and similar standardisation organisations. What is your opinion?

Everybody has to decide for their own companies. The right way to determine what a company's strategy is, is to assess whether it is a good investment. We need the standard; we can't dominate the world in doing something special; it doesn't work. You have seen this with smartphones, but nowadays what you have is iPhone software, and you have Android. You see that Nokia didn't survive, Microsoft system didn't survive, nobody really came up with another system. BlackBerry went from the market, even though they had the best phone ever. But the base was to find a common platform where you can exchange functionality. That is where you can change from the one phone to the other, where you still have the same way of working. It was a success, and it's the same with this one but you bundle your efforts as a company, and you don't do Android and iOS at all.


Do you expect to see in the future only one standard in the European market? Could we achieve something like that?

It isn't easy to achieve only one standard because the big challenge still is that the utilities are very fractioned, in each country. In Switzerland, there are 700 utilities, and everyone of them would like to have something a bit different. You will only get them over the price.

It doesn't make sense to do everything special, that is going to break boundaries and standards. This does not mean that you're fixed in everything. It would be the best if you had applications like on the smartphone. You have your base, you have the way you exchange data, the way that you do things and on top of this, you have the functions which everybody can do their stuff. That's the way to go. And if every utility or every manufacturer would do something different, this wouldn't work.

I think you can look back even hundreds of years ago. When you look at the civil war in the US, do you know what made the North win over the South? It is basically that North started to standardise the bullets and the weapon. You did not have thousands of soldiers, and everybody with a different weapons. You know, standardisation. You can look wherever you want; the successful things are the standardised things.


But if the EC start, then governments will have an obligation...

If you do the big calculation you will see that it makes much more sense to keep the basic and the most important things standardised, then everybody is in accordance with their stuff.


Following the European Union values competition, open markets, everything.

Look at the mobility. If each car would have a different voltage level to charge, different socket to plug into, etc, think about the infrastructure.
They have done the work that, at least until now, they have I think three socket types around the world. They standardised voltage level, DC, AC etc. It is a lot of work to get things standardised. All those things have been done, but all manufacture, all cost, should generate the profit at the end of the month. And you also need interchangeability.


How do you see the DLMS Association and IDIS Association? Example; if IDIS Association wants to go in the field of electric vehicles, renewables?
IDIS depends on DLMS, and DLMS should first define all, IDIS after that.
Those are significant dependencies. Do you see future the same, or IDIS can do something alone, or?

It is a decision of IDIS members, but I think, for the time being, we have been very much based on DLMS. I think DLMS has already started to look for a much wider field. So it's now up to IDIS to do their homework on the strategy, and see what is needed for the next step.


What principles do you follow in your business and your career, and would you point out someone or company from the smart metering field who has contributed significantly to our area?

Absolutely, Iskraemeco. Because we have kept the things driving for an opening closed environment, where the bigger ones have been more 'let's block’. You know when we win, we win. I think that Iskraemeco has done proportionally more if you compare the size of the company, which is the size of the Elster. I believe we have been the driving force behind this.

My one, the absolute principle is: open, honest and fair and do what you say.



There is the second wave of rollout going on around Europe and having that in mind we have to think if there is a way to better implement the standardisation for that wave, to use the time and capital invested so far and finally reach a standard in the European Union.

In order to achieve the global standard for the EU the group with the mandate to do it has to be open and inclusive for the utilities and manufacturers and their suggestions, but has to keep in mind that the standard has to be general.

Following the expansion of DLMS to other areas of the smart grid, smart buildings, smart cities, etc., IDIS can prevent the scenario seen in smart metering and immediately reach an unambiguous standard for smart infrastructure.


Is the European Commission’s help and directive needed to reach one standard in the EU, due to the multitude of utilities?


#Smartmetering #smartenergymanagement #electricity

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