A new cloud-based approach to the network operations center is aimed at helping utilities, municipalities and other entities deploying smart infrastructure to manage and monitor the vast number of devices expected to comprise the Internet of Things (IoT).
The platform was developed by Nivis , a developer of smart grid technology and wireless sensor networks based on standards such as 6LoWPAN, ISA100.11a, and WirelessHART. The company's Cloud NOC is designed to allow management and monitoring of networks of connected devices -- such as smart meters on a utility network or wireless-enabled streetlights in a city -- in a way that accounts for the increasingly complex standards environment in the IoT. (See AllSeen Attracts More IoT Hopefuls and Thread Group Spins New IoT Networking Protocol.)
"Over the course of the last five or six years, various standards bodies have created and generated a wide gamut of standards that are targeting fixed devices such as meters," says Robert Assimiti, co-founder and CTO of Centero LLC , which Assimiti says was founded last year to function as the commercial distribution arm of Nivis. "We support these technologies natively. If you have an IoT device that resides in the field that speaks 6LoWPAN, for example, you can connect to the NOC without any translating agents."
That ability to assimilate is becoming increasingly important in an IoT world. A new study from PwC Consulting indicates that investment in sensors to connect devices to the IoT is on the rise in a broad range of industry sectors, especially energy and automotive.
For utilities in particular, having a dedicated virtual NOC to turn to for network diagnostics and device management is necessary, given the increasing complexity and security implications of smart grid communications, Assimiti says.
"Utility companies used to have a backend solution provided along with meters -- a software package that would allow them to mine data," he says. "It has morphed into something more complex. Now it's not just about the data -- it's about network health, and also security has started to play a crucial role. Now we're talking about very complex encryption and authentication. This is all fairly novel to the utility companies."
The Nivis cloud NOC can be provided as a cloud-based service, or as an enterprise software package that customers can host themselves, Assimiti says.
— Jason Meyers, Senior Editor, Utility Communications/IoT, Light Reading