ABB Wireless

Friday, September 24, 2010

What Will FCC White Space Ruling Really Mean for the Smart Grid?

Hard to have missed the news about yesterday’s ruling by the FCC on expanding white space spectrum for unlicensed use. On the surface it sounds like a clear win for utilities as it will provide them with more choices – how can you go wrong with more choices, right?

Before getting too excited about the ruling, it makes sense to take a closer look at both promise and reality of what it might mean in practice. The good…eventually, white spaces should be able to provide for additional connectivity in lightly populated areas. The not-so-good…there will continue to be a lack of availability of white space spectrum in urban and suburban areas – where 80+% of electricity users actually reside. Standards for this spectrum still have a long ways to go prior to adoption.

Also consider that the FCC announced they are taking steps to reserve two UHF channels for unlicensed microphones and other low power auxiliary service devices in all areas of the country. If this is the case, its quite possible there may be no free white space channels available in Silicon Valley…and many other markets.

So bottom line -- white space technology is well suited to some smart grid applications and geographies, but like any wireless technology, it isn't perfect for everything and likely won’t be available for use in many markets.

What direction will Tropos follow? Tropos is developing white space radios to extend our line of multi-radio products. We believe it simply makes good sense to offer the utilities deploying their Smart Grid a wide range of multi-radio, multi-band, licensed and unlicensed spectrum products – let the customer decide what they want.


Thursday, September 23, 2010

City of Lompoc Expands Use of Tropos Network to Enhance Public Safety with RoboVu’s Video Surveillance Solution

Lompoc has been successfully using its citywide wireless broadband network from Tropos to provide competitively priced fee-based public Internet access service within the community. The City is now expanding use of the network and adding mobile Tropos nodes and data computers (MDC) in all of its police vehicles to provide fast access to information, such as criminal records and mug shots, from police vehicles in the field. The first two police vehicles were outfitted with the new equipment yesterday!

The MDC's include integrated in-vehicle mobile video. Video is recorded and temporarily stored on the MDC then downloaded to a video server as a police vehicle reaches any precinct. The in-car video enables officers to record events or situations while on patrol providing real-time situational awareness as well as video evidence to more efficiently prosecute cases.

In addition, the city is installing a video surveillance system that will leverage the Tropos network for communications – improving public safety and increasing police operational efficiencies. RoboVu's RoboSPY video surveillance solution has been selected.

“One of the main reasons we were able to move forward with this project was because the Tropos network was already in place,” said Captain Larry Ralston, who has been leading the video project for the Lompoc Police Department. “The network has the bandwidth, reliability and security already built into it and has made it affordable for us to deploy the state-of-the-art surveillance system from RoboVu that will make Lompoc a safer community for citizens and businesses.”

Funded by a $400,000 Homeland Security grant, the program will be rolled out in three phases and cover eight square miles of the city.

Lompoc is a great example of how a city can leverage a single Tropos network infrastructure to cost effectively deliver multiple municipal services that improve quality of life in the community.