Couple of decades back, people could have hardly imagined that even without meeting we can stay in touch with our near and dear ones across the globe. Thanks to the advancement in the field of communication devices. Various such devices and techniques were made available to the public but the one that has carved out a special niche is the online chatting. It has enabled people from one part of the globe to keep in touch with their friends and family staying in different part of the globe.
No doubt, online chat rooms have indeed come as a sort of blessing to every one across the globe. Not only it facilitates friends and relatives to-be-in touch but at the same time helps individuals looking for dating and business. In the truest of the sense, world gets squeezed up into a small box, where the word for world “global village” find its true meaning. The best part is that in online chatting you can chat with individuals from your own time zone. Mow, you must be wondering how, just leave an off-liner and your friend will receive the same whenever he is online again.
Online chatting also provides you with chances of finding a perfect partner. You get to understand the person on the other side before you judges him or rate him or her on any standard. More so, in live chat you get to see the person; in fact, in these type of chat sessions, instead of typing you just need to talk over a microphone and enjoy the video conference, provided you have a web cam. This gives you a total freedom and at the same time you get to know the person better and judge how far you would be able to go with him or her.
Online chat rooms: Better Than Messengers.
No doubt, video conferencing is good but basic features that are provided by text chat are simply better and superb. It gives you the option to choose your own font size and color and at the same time smirk, flirt or smile through their massive list of emoticons.
With galore of online chat website at your disposal, you don’t need to download different chat messengers to your system. You just have to register yourself and start online chatting. Moreover, here you have the option to select from a list of different online chat rooms and open the door to yourself for the rest of the globe. You just need to select the chat room which you think suits your genre well. You could find love in a room which is meant for dating, friends in friendship room, fling in flirting room or business in business rooms or profession rooms.
Not every chat room offers you the facilities of live chat without registration. But surely you can have a demo of the site as a guest and even sign up for free. The best and the bright side about these online chat rooms is that you are well connected with your family and friends without paying for huge telephone and can even date someone without paying anything to any online dating forums. Is it not great?
Melbourne, Australia (PRWEB) September 30, 2009
Rock Paper Scissors is about to become a million dollar worldwide phenomenon with the Australian-based company Fatzoo planning a $1-million (USD) online championship on December 20, 2009, to be held at http://www.fatzoo.com.
“It stands to be the largest online tournament ever hosted, with the largest prize money in history for an amateur online ‘sporting event,’” says Fatzoo.com founder, 25-year-old Australian IT entrepreneur Steven Pharr, who sold his previous company 199Bongo in 2007 for more than $5-million. “This game, which emerged during the Ming dynasty in China, truly is a global game. People, young and old, the world over know and understand the rules. It’s a non-generational, no gender preference type game that does not favor any physical stature or age. For the tournament, all you need is access to the Internet. Anyone has a real shot at winning.”
Entry is completely free for the knock-out tournament. The winner takes home $750,000 (USD) and the runner-up, $250,000 in prize money.
Since July of this year, the Fatzoo site has been running its World Series Rock Paper Scissors daily tournaments (winner US$75, runner-up US$25) Mondays to Thursdays at 11am GMT and Grand Slam tournaments (winner US$350, runner-up US$150) on Sundays at 11am GMT. The company has announced the tournaments will also start at 12am GMT within weeks to cater for the growing number of players from the United States.
Pharr is in discussion with several global brands regarding sponsorship opportunities and is also scouting several big name artists to sing their country’s national anthem before the event. In addition, Fatzoo is seeking Guinness World Record clarification in three categories regarding the tournament. Stay tuned for forthcoming announcements.
The site has tens of thousands of active members from the United States, UK, India, Australia, Ireland, New Zealand, South Africa, China, Germany, France, Italy and The Philippines to name a few, but Pharr expects millions of new competitors for the tournament as a result of media exposure and social networking.
“Many people feel that it’s going to be simply impossible to win, however being a knock-out competition, if 5-million people compete in the event, you would only need to defeat 23 opponents to win. That doesn’t seem so hard, does it?” asks Pharr. “We are hoping the event will be a huge success, allowing us to hold even bigger tournaments in the future, as well as being able to increase the prize money of the smaller regular tournaments that continue to run daily. It’s going to be a lot of fun and the outcome is going to change someone’s life.”
For more information, please visit http://www.fatzoo.com.
Industrial Ethernet switches and other devices produced by industrial networking equipment manufacturer RuggedCom contain a vulnerability that could be exploited to compromise SSL-based communications between them and their users, according to a security researcher from security startup Cylance.
“ICS-CERT is aware of a public report of hard-coded RSA SSL private key within RuggedCom’s Rugged Operating System (ROS),” the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Industrial Control Systems Cyber Emergency Response Team (ICS-CERT) said in a security alert published Tuesday. “The vulnerability with proof-of-concept (PoC) exploit code was publicly presented by security researcher Justin W. Clarke of Cylance Inc.”
IN THE NEWS: New NIST encryption guidelines may force fed agencies to replace old websites
“The private key was successfully extracted from the firmware on August 9, and was then presented at the BSidesLA 2012 conference on August 17,” Clarke said Wednesday via email.
“This vulnerability does not directly allow for an authentication bypass,” Clarke said. “What it allows is for an attacker to decrypt any SSL communication between an end-user’s web browser and the RuggedCom device.”
In addition, the hard-coded private key could be used in a man-in-the-middle (MITM) attack to impersonate a RuggedCom device without the end user realizing it, Clarke said.
RuggedCom manufactures Ethernet switches, network routers, wireless devices, serial servers, media converters and other communications equipment for use in harsh electrical and climatic environments like those found in electrical power substations, oil refineries, military installations or roadside traffic control cabinets.
The company, which was acquired by Siemens in March, is based in Ontario, Canada, and has 10 regional offices in the United States and Europe.
According to an older RuggedCom security bulletin, ROS is primarily used in Ethernet switches and serial-to-Ethernet converters. The company’s router and backbone products use a different operating system called ROX that is not affected by this vulnerability, Clarke said.
In the absence of either confirmation or mitigation solutions from RuggedCom, ICS-CERT issued a general recommendation of isolating control systems from business networks and the Internet.
“If remote access is required, employ secure methods, such as Virtual Private Networks (VPNs), recognizing that VPN is only as secure as the connected devices,” ICS-CERT said.
“Specialists from Siemens and RuggedCom are investigating this issue and will provide information updates as soon as they become available,” Jamie Blakeley, marketing communications coordinator at RuggedCom, said Wednesday via email.
Back in April, Clarke publicly disclosed a different ROS vulnerability after notifying the vendor of the problem in February through US-CERT.
That vulnerability consisted of a hard-coded “factory” account that provided backdoor access to RuggedCom devices running ROS. The company addressed the issue by releasing firmware updates in May and June.
The Laundry Bag Store Online Announces a New Product Offering: Assorted Nylon Laundry Bags in 50 and 100 Piece Lots with Free Shipping
(PRWEB) January 20, 2006
The Laundry Bag Store Online, an online retailer of various style laundry and storage bags is now offering 210 denier assorted nylon laundry bags lots in two sizes.
Two sizes are available and provide a low cost solution to any laundry service, business or facility when color is not a priority.
Their 22 x 28 medium nylon laundry bag, commonly known to dry cleaners as a counter bag includes a drawstring with self-locking closure and two metal hanging grommets. The bags come in packs of 5 assorted colors from a palette of 14 colors. Each 22 x 28 laundry bag can hold approximately 14-20 lbs.
For those requiring a larger bag, a 30 x 40 nylon bag is available in packs of 5 assorted colors, from a palette of 14 colors also with a drawstring and self-locking closure. Each 30 x 40 laundry bag can hold approximately 40 to 50 lbs.
Also available in 12 packs are Suit and Dress Storage Bags. Both styles are made of a clear vinyl with a zipper and sealed bottom. The back of the bag is made from a breathable, white, non-woven material.
The size of the suit storage bag is 24″(w) x 42″(h) x 3(d)” and can easily hold 2 to 3 suits, several dress shirts or any other fine garments you want to protect from dust, mildew and pesky moths.
The size of the dress storage bag is 24″(w) x 60″(h) x 3(d)” and can hold 3 or 4 dresses, blouses and skirts.
The suit and dress storage bag 12 packs are available with free shipping when purchasing from their eBay Store. For those without an eBay account the company will send a PayPal invoice if you provide them with a valid email address.
The Laundry Bag Store Online and the Laundry Bag Store Online eBay are owned and operated by Town Line Laundry. Town Line offers drop off wash, dry, fold, shirt and dry cleaning services as well as local area pickup and delivery in the Watertown, Massachusetts area.
The URL for Town Line Laundrys Services and the Laundry Bag Store Online and the Laundry Bag Store Online eBay are:
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The Linksys WAG160N router gives a wireless connectivity intended for your private networks and house. this wireless modem router ADSL2+ is designed toward provide an optimal pace and excessive bandwidth, which form it potential toward innumerable customers to reach Internet, toward transfer from the bulky files, to print and diffuse multi-media contents, the whole concurrently and using you wi-fi network. Linksys Router’s modem ADSL2+ high move incorporated offers a connection toward the Web completely and fast. this Linksys router is uncomplicated toward worth and install.
Velocity and the bandwidth of the Linksys wi-fi N router, and the on the whole high quality wi-fi tools of the second, craft the wireless router potential to many end users toward easily divide files, printing operations alongside via their entry to Internet. Revenue simultaneously, with a negligible deterioration of the performances and a diminished shift, actions making an intensive usefulness of multi-media because the performs, the videos and VoIP. You revenue from a better pace with connecting peripherals to the Linksys wireless router WAG160N. but, equipment is completely compatible by the wi-fi merchandise help the wireless standards G and B.
The Linksys wi-fi router WAG160N permits a reliable cover within the whole house. The wireless equipment MIMO (Multiple In, a number of Out) exploits the reflexions of indicators, which scramble accepted wi-fi applied sciences to escalation the quilt and to scale back the inaccessible zones.
The Linksys wi-fi router WAG160N gives quality wi-fi protection and has a built-in firewall SPI, which are designed toward shield your home community and your computers from nearly all of assaults coming from the Internet.
Through 4 ports Ethernet 10/100, The Linksys wireless router WAG160N permits you toward connect printers, discs of storage and supplementary Ethernet peripherals through your community so that you can reach and share them via your wireless community from any piece of your house. no extra want to set up further cables or to wait your flip to assessment the computer.
It’s generally named as with knowledge networking technicians that a wired network for Web connectivity is quicker than Internet connectivity from a wireless router. Conversely what shouldn’t be generally known is why. a router is a tool that is used toward join one network, like because the Web, toward a Native Space Network (LAN) that involves an assortment of linked equipment like as computers. Wired Native Area Networks generally significance the Ethernet protocol designed for knowledge communications. this protocol a large amount contains bandwidth speeds from 10Mb/s (megabits per second) toward 1000Mb/s with 100Mb/s being the the largest part generally in favor of networking computer systems in the majority properties and offices. The Ethernet information communication protocol uses entire-duplex communication; that is, it may send and retain information on the same time.
Internet Service Companies largely make available broadband broadband services up to 1.5Mb/s that are outlined when it comes to the maximum obtain speed as a result of different widespread client high speed applied sciences receive a slower maximum add speed.
A router as the title implies, distributes knowledge packets from the Internet to every requesting computer connected toward it. this is completed in an orderly way by utilizing high speed electrical switches. The maximum fee at which the router can swap the data packets additionally determines the utmost pace of operation of the Native Area Network. as long as you receive too assorted computer systems related off the router, the router can develop into a pace bottleneck. So in idea, so lengthy as you importance a 100Mb/s Ethernet cable toward join toward your Internet Service Supplier, then your Internet connection won’t decelerate as the largest part broadband Internet Services intended for house value peak out at round 1.5Mb/s, and company worth peaks out at about 10Mb/s (in spite of this shared across various computer systems).
With wi-fi data networks, the most widely used protocol is the IEEE 802.11 standard. this commonplace involves had a quantity of revisions over the past few years and the most recent is the 802.11n version. The 802.11n model can in concept perform up to 300Mb/s whereas the earlier 802.11b version works up toward 11Mb/s and the 802.11g works up to 54Mb/s. nonetheless wireless routers solely work wi-fi knowledge connectivity utilizing a half-duplex protocol (both ship or get data conversely not each at similar time) and this makes them slower than wired Ethernet connections. but there are a couple of additional components that craft wireless networks slower than wired networks due toward sign and data processing overheads. The wi-fi signal might be prone toward native interference from other nearby electrical home equipment and this may cause the performance of the wi-fi community toward degrade. what time the wireless signal degrades, the wi-fi router must work extra knowledge error corrections toward preserve the integrity of the information and this causes delays in distributing the info toward and from its destination and slows down the connection.
If wi-fi security protocols are additionally used to encrypt the info, this requires other knowledge processing toward be undertaken that can additionally restrict the efficiency with introducing inherent latency delays. Hard-wired networks don’t want to receive the data packets encrypted as a result of they’re bodily secured in largely buildings whereas wi-fi networks cover areas that are not secured and hence the information wants to be encrypted to secure it from unauthorized buyers.
Used for higher efficiency Web connectivity, assessment a wired cable as lengthy as you can as a result of it’s bodily safe, permits quicker performance, prices less, and is not as inclined toward electrical interference in contrast toward wi-fi connectivity.
In abstract, so lengthy as you significance your pc designed for gaming, voice over IP, or real-time collaboration, then you are better off utilizing a wired cable network connection toward the router that connects to the Web Service Provider.
Changing Your Linksys Router's Password » Yapperz.com – Speak out loud.vilago21.com/event/Benefits+of+a+Linksys+Wi_fi+Access+Level/1253857/profile
I AM not too young to remember the days when the fax and phone ruled communication in the workplace.
when email arrived, we all rejoiced. but, interestingly, email has gone from our saving grace in business communications to our biggest bugbear, with many people hard pressed to stay on top of an overflowing inbox. this is just one area I can see being revolutionised by the rollout of the National Broadband Network.
while many alternative forms of communication such as VoIP (voice over internet protocol), Skype, live chat, video conferencing and social networks already exist, to date these have not really become mainstream business communication tools. with the arrival of the NBN, their potential becomes much more of a reality.
using Skype's text chat function for basic internal queries such as 'where is the file for ABC client kept?', forwarding contact details or transferring a file to work on is a much better solution than an email complete with a superfluous subject header and signature. The communication is still date stamped, the sender identifiable and files can most certainly be attached.
Microblogging networks (such as Twitter), blogging, and use of other social networking applications increases people's ability to communicate with a multitude, discuss issues virtually, think critically about issues informed by many perspectives, and provide alternatives to make decisions.
when it comes to collaborating on documents, email is really ineffective. much better solutions include Google Docs where you can create spread sheets, documents (as per Microsoft Word), presentations and more, and share them with relevant staff members. Collaborators can see when others are working on the live document (a great reference for meetings) and/or share the document once updated, ensuring effective version control.
Why network? because your net worth is equal to your network
1. plan networking as weekly, fortnightly or monthly marketing activity.
2. have an action plan and write it up. Include names of companies and clients to target; which events to attend and any skills you need to learn.
3. Set a goal and an intention before each event you attend.
4. decide if you are there to learn something.
5. decide if you are there to meet people, if so how many each time?
6. decide if you are there to increase your visibility.
7. decide if you are there to socialize/connect with like-minded individuals.
8. Research the event before attending.
9. decide which group to join and how to find the right one for you.
10. Visit as many groups as you can, try: professional associations in your industry, local chamber of commerce, swap, women’s groups if female, DSRD or other government bodies, seminars and business referral groups such as BNI.
11. become a regular attendee at 2-3 different groups.
12. Arrive early, stay back at the end.
13. Budget in advance for networking events.
14. Realise networking is a skill and it needs to be practiced.
15. become known as a powerful resource for others.
16. Build trust – be real.
17. Get in the right mindset.
18. have an open mind.
19. have an attitude of abundance; there is plenty for everyone, even if there are 10 graphic designers at the event
20. use this as an opportunity to find out what your competitors are doing.
21. be ‘present’, don’t be thinking about what you have to do later.
22. have a compelling elevator pitch.
23. know your own Unique Selling Point.
24. Value your own worth – be confident.
25. Learn how to start a conversation and exit a conversation.
26. make sure you move along but don’t be scanning the room for your next interaction, whilst still talking to someone.
27. be genuine, connect from the heart.
28. Respect and honor that your referrals will grow.
29. Refer people to businesses you encountered at a networking event (provided you are confident that the person had integrity).
30. Initiate new relationships and build existing ones.
31. be generous.
32. Look friendly & smile.
33. ask how you can help, what does the person need? be a giver.
34. Remember the golden rule: networkers are givers, not takers.
35. This is also a place where you can ask for help.
36. Don’t try to ‘sell’.
37. If someone asks you about yourself and your needs, have a clear understanding of what this may be.
38. ask open-ended questions.
39. Value others’ opinions whether you agree or not.
40. ask questions to the speaker if there is one.
41. be a good listener.
42. be yourself.
43. have a conversation.
44. Read books and articles about Networking.
45. Find out what your contact values.
46. What are the dreams and goals of the person you are speaking with?
47. Find out the needs of potential customers.
48. Connect people that you know to each other.
49. use networking to get unbiased feedback on your ideas.
50. use networking to build strategic alliances.
51. Remember people’s names.
52. Wear comfortable shoes and clothes.
53. Don’t drink too much.
54. Look for differences in people as well as similarities as the differences may be the very thing that connects you.
55. Understand that there is no conversation that is a ‘waste of time’.
56. If you are uncomfortable going alone take a friend, colleague or client.
57. Introduce yourself to the speaker and host.
58. Join the organizing committee.
59. Remember to use the law of reciprocity and pay back when you can.
60. Sit with people you don’t know.
61. take your business cards and or flyers, hand them out or leave them on the tables at the event. make sure you have them somewhere easy to get to i.e. in your pocket.
62. have 2 sets of business cards; one for business and one for networking events with your photo, contact details and what your business does.
63. ask for other people’s business cards/flyers.
64. Write notes on the cards to remind you of the conversation you had with the person
65. Gather information and get a ‘feel’ for the business of the people you just met by visiting their websites when you get back to the office.
66. have a database or diary system to store contacts from each event.
67. keep a diary or spreadsheet of what happened at each event that includes your thoughts, learnings, self-evaluation, what worked, what didn’t. Record who you met or heard that you would like to model.
68. use a scent of aromatic oils or yourself or on your business cards to really create a lasting memory. Smell is one of the strongest memory triggers
69. Always look for the positive in every experience, even if it did not live up to your expectations.
70. Remember it is not about the quantity of cards you walk away with but the quality of the interaction.
71. Aim to meet at least one new person each event you attend.
72. According to reader’s digest, every person knows at least 250 other people, so remember that each person you speak to, can potentially tell another 250 about your business. so 1+1 could quite easily = 500
73. Send your contacts useful articles or links based on what you have found out that they need.
74. have a blog, twitter or Facebook account that you can direct your new contacts to so they can continue to network with you.
75. keep in touch regularly.
76. take action immediately
77. make the most of every opportunity.
78. Realise everyone has something to offer.
79. Follow-up with a call or email.
80. Networking should be a continual thing that you do every day.
81. Don’t wait till you are desperate for business to build your network.
82. Your net worth is equivalent to your net-work
83. Arrange to meet a select few of your new contacts.
84. Introduce your new contacts to some people you know and get them to introduce you to some of the people they know.
85. At the end of each quarter or fiscal year, determine your ROI.
86. make networking a way of thinking and living, not something you ‘do’.
87. know how to mirror and match someone’s body, voice and breathing to gain rapport.
88. Learn how to use expanded awareness.
89. Learn the 15 keys to successful negotiation.
90. Learn strategic visioning techniques to set goals.
91. Understand people’s eye patterns.
92. Learn how to re-frame objections to improve sales.
93. Learn how to identify someone’s motivation strategies.
94. Learn how to identify someone’s buying strategies.
95. Learn how to identify someone’s decision-making strategies.
96. Learn how to identify someone’s empowered strategies.
97. Learn how to use language patterns, agreement frames and closes.
98. Learn sensory acuity to identify changes in someone’s feelings/thoughts.
99. Learn the meta programs used by dynamic leaders of the world.
100. have FUN
GE-NRG Energy-ConocoPhillips Venture Invests in Future of Wireless Communication Networks with Capital for On-Ramp Wireless
Energy Technology Ventures – a GE-NRG Energy-ConocoPhillips venture – has invested in On-Ramp Wireless, developer of wireless networks for energy automation, as part of the company’s Series C capital raise. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
San Diego-based On-Ramp Wireless will use the funds to further commercialize its Ultra-Link Processing™ (ULP) Smart Grid and Digital Oil Field solutions. ULP’s total reach, the ability to cost-effectively connect billions of hard-to-reach devices deployed in dense urban settings, located below ground, and in remote environments, is an industry first. ULP’s cellular-like wireless network is globally available and is deployed in critical infrastructure and Smart Grid deployments around the globe. On-Ramp was also awarded a grant by Department of Energy to develop a wireless network to monitor underground circuits to improve grid reliability and has deployed the projects with both San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) and Southern California Edison. the ULP network enables secure and reliable transmission of data with minimal infrastructure, significantly reducing initial capital costs and reducing overall total cost of ownership by greater than two-times over existing technologies.
“With its ULP technology, On-Ramp Wireless can support numerous applications that were previously cost-prohibitive to integrate with communications technology. this enables a new class of wireless automation software services for the energy industry,” said Kevin Skillern, GE Energy Financial Services’ managing director of venture capital and representative of Energy Technology Ventures. “We also believe there is significant potential to apply the technology in other infrastructure segments.”
Joaquin Silva, president and CEO of On-Ramp, said, “Energy Technology Ventures’ investment will not only assist in the continued development and implementation of our patented wireless technology, but it also recognizes the critical contribution these technologies can provide to transform utility and oil and gas operations.”
On-Ramp was selected as one of ten winners of the GE ecomagination Challenge’s phase two “Powering your Home” program, announced last June. the ecomagination Challenge demonstrates GE’s global commitment to accelerate the development and deployment of innovative technologies through open collaboration, while providing financial support to develop and commercialize innovative technologies. the investment in On-Ramp is one of many in GE’s push to develop its “Industrial Internet,” a network of Internet-connected devices that will collect and communicate data. In addition, On-Ramp is a participant in GE’s $20 million ecomagination Accelerator program, which is an offshoot of the $200 million ecomagination Challenge. the ecomagination Accelerator program is designed to scale offerings of leading start-up companies, utilizing GE as a global growth platform.
About On-Ramp Wireless
On-Ramp Wireless has developed the first wireless system purpose-built to connect billions of hard-to-reach devices in metro scale and other challenging environments. On-Ramp’s field-proven Ultra-Link Processing™ system enables low-power monitoring and control applications for Smart Grid, pipeline integrity, water efficiency, industrial sensing, and location tracking. Operating in un-licensed spectrum, our signal processing innovation finds weak signals even in high noise environments, yielding extreme coverage, immunity to high interference, and significantly lowers cost. for more information, visit onrampwireless.com.
About Energy Technology Ventures
By Chuck Hackney, CenterPoint Energy Penton Business Media
The smart grid is bringing the electric utility industry into the 21st century. In combination with smart meters, the smart grid enables consumers to monitor their energy usage. for utilities, it eliminates house-to-house meter reading, makes possible the remote connection and disconnection of electric power, and sends automatic alerts when outages occur.
The smart grid enables retail electric providers to offer time-of-use rates that differentiate peak and off-peak consumption to encourage electricity consumers to shift their consumption patterns accordingly. It also enables consumers to support the integration of distributed generation (for example, electric cars, wind turbines and solar panels).
But the smart grid is only as smart as the communications network that ensures the rapid and reliable two-way transmission of all this data. Over the past three years, CenterPoint Energy (Houston, Texas, U.S.) has been installing just this kind of advanced communications network.
The mass of information accumulated by smart meters is of no value unless it can be transmitted reliably to the utility data center and processed. Hence, there is a critical need for an effective communications network.
To create such a network, CenterPoint worked with IBM, Itron, GE and Quanta Services. each of these vendors has made a contribution to the network’s success:
IBM’s network methodology was the basis for the network’s architecture.
Itron provided meter, cell relay and system hardware, software and services.
GE provided WiMAX radios/antennas, management software and services.
Quanta provided meter and communications equipment installation services.
CenterPoint had seven exacting requirements for its communications network:
Have a comprehensive coverage design for a 5,000-sq-mile (12,950-sq-km) service area.
Provide two-way communications to endpoints (that is, to cell relays [meter data collectors] and intelligent grid switching devices).
Have data throughput capacity sufficient to transmit 96 interval readings a day from each of more than 2 million meters, and to execute all service orders generated.
Be reliable in all conditions, particularly storm conditions as the Houston area is susceptible to hurricanes.
Be secure, adhering to strict cyber-security standards.
Be scalable to keep pace with ever-increasing amounts of data as more smart meters and intelligent grid switching devices are installed in the years ahead.
Have adequate fail-over and redundancy to ensure backup in the event of a component failure.
IBM’s network methodology was used to help CenterPoint develop the communications architecture for the smart grid. This methodology is represented by a collection of development templates, best practices and procedures for designing networks. the development process is structured in phases, from the requirements, to conceptual modeling, to logical modeling and, ultimately, to the final detailed network design.
The end result of this development process was a communications network design in which the meters form a mesh and communicate through cell relays. the design ratio of meters to cell relays is roughly 400:1. In the event a cell relay fails, the meters associated with the failed cell relay will migrate to an adjacent cell relay.
From the cell relay, there is dual-path (primary and secondary) communications architecture. the primary communications path is the company’s private WiMAX network, consisting of radio towers, typically at substations, which connect to nearby cell relay sites. A failure of any segment of the company’s WiMAX backhaul communications will cause the cell relays associated with that segment to fail over to the secondary path, a public cellular carrier (AT&T) network.
The smart grid communications model was developed as an end-to-end design with dual communications paths to provide redundancy. by implementing a private wireless infrastructure as a primary communications path and using a public cellular carrier as the secondary path, CenterPoint was able to use the full strengths of both types of networks to create a reliable solution. This redundancy and resiliency enables CenterPoint to live up to its brand promise: “Always there.”
Communications Network Build
Smart meters transmit electric usage data wirelessly to cell relays installed on electric distribution poles connected to both the WiMAX and cellular networks. More than 5,200 cell relay sites have been built across Houston to communicate with the more than 2 million meters installed across CenterPoint’s electric distribution territory.
The cell relay location consists of a cell relay, a wireless WiMAX remote radio and an antenna — all of which are powered by electricity from the power line with battery back-up. for approximately every 75 cell relay locations, there is a WiMAX radio tower site that functions as a take-out point (TOP) to collect the data.
At the cell relay sites, communications crews program the WiMAX radio and then align the antenna to ensure the radio is communicating with the TOP. TOPs, which are built mainly at CenterPoint substations, collect data from cell relays within a several-mile radius and deliver the data, through the microwave and fiber backhaul network, to the data center.
The TOP consists of a 150-ft (46-m) steel lattice tower or pole. on the structure, crews installed three WiMAX antennas, spaced 120 degrees apart, to receive signals from surrounding cell relays. In addition, crews installed and aligned the microwave dish to connect with the core network through an adjacent microwave location. the telecommunications equipment for the TOP is sheltered inside a concrete building at the base of the tower or pole. Cell relay data collected through one of three master radios — one for each antenna — is routed over the microwave network by fiber-optic cable to the data center.
A data collection engine passes information collected from the cell relays to the meter data management system, which processes and stores meter data and also executes service orders. CenterPoint sends meter data to the Smart Meter Texas web portal, where consumers may securely view their historical 15-minute usage data in 24-hour, 30-day and 13-month snapshots.
the Network Takes Shape
More than 2.2 million smart meters have been deployed, along with 5,220 cell relays and 140 TOPs. With these in place, more than 2 billion intervals of usage data are being recorded and made available to consumers on the Internet each week.
In 2012, CenterPoint has obtained 15-minute interval data at a rate of 99.3%, along with 99.8% of monthly register reads used for billing. More than 97% of service orders have been completed electronically, typically within 30 minutes, saving nearly 3 million truck rolls, with concomitant savings in fuel and reduction of carbon emissions.
Considerations and Lessons Learned
The real test of a communications network is how it functions in practice. the deployment process posed its own challenges and taught some significant lessons:
Communications network development must be closely coordinated with the meter deployment. CenterPoint’s meters were deployed by route, and the network communications infrastructure was in place and stable three months ahead of the meter deployment. This approach allowed meters to begin communicating with the system immediately.
Be prepared to use creative design and installation solutions to meet aggressive time lines. for example, one of the tests performed at potential cell relay sites was to determine WiMAX signal strength to the WiMAX take-out site. when signal testing to a cell relay site was needed before the take-out site towers were built, large cranes were used to position the antennas at the appropriate height.
Complete the design of the overall communications system up front. Integrate all communications components into an overall architecture, test and analyze all equipment, complete construction standards, identify all construction materials and validate installation procedures through testing and training.
Manage materials and multiple service suppliers closely and establish strong field coordination along with detailed construction and performance acceptance and testing processes. Major equipment and long-lead items such as cell relays, radios, network electronics, towers and buildings need to be specified, bid on and ordered well in advance, and inventory levels maintained in a warehouse system and tracked. Given the fast pace of deployment, inadequate inventory can cause significant schedule disruptions.
Be prepared to support the infrastructure operationally when the first device goes into production. Identify staffing requirements and analyze, select and implement network management tools as they are used both for construction and for connectivity testing and operations.
Leverage a common communications infrastructure. the intelligent grid network is built to leverage the advanced metering system communications infrastructure so remote or automated switching commands are executed over the same network from which electric usage data is communicated.
Keys to Deployment Success
An effective communications network has CenterPoint positioned for the future. the smart grid is not only the future for CenterPoint, it is the future of the utility industry. With this in mind, the following approaches may be considered when planning any smart grid communications system:
Establish a strong governance process. A strong project management office, using a proven governance methodology, is essential to the overall success. With the deployment of any integrated system, especially one as complex as an advanced meter system, the application of consistent scheduling, financial, scope, change and reporting processes is imperative.
All project teams and support functions should be integrated and closely aligned within a project management structure overseen by a robust project management office.
Develop solid business and technical requirements and ensure agreements with all stakeholders.
Apply a proven network architecture development method to ensure a solid design that meets requirements.
Ensure the deployment of smart meters and switching devices is coordinated closely with the deployment of communications infrastructure.
Adopt and follow efficient, safe and cost-efficient design and installation standards, keeping in mind operational support requirements.
Minimize exceptions; they add costs and delay progress. when unavoidable exceptions do occur, handle them aside from the main deployment effort in order to avoid disrupting the primary deployment routine.
Follow up the deployment as soon as possible with a plan to operate and maintain the equipment and systems.
The smart grid is becoming the norm in the United States, and the nerve center of every smart grid is the communications network that connects it. CenterPoint Energy’s experience will not be the exact experience of every utility as it moves to the smart grid. but the lessons learned during this process may prove useful to other utilities that are on the various steps of this path.
Chuck Hackney () is the director of Telecommunication Services & Smart Grid Communications. He manages the CenterPoint Energy backhaul and smart grid network and is responsible for the smart grid communications network deployment. Hackney has deployed large technology infrastructures, re-engineered business processes and developed organizations for both large technology infrastructure deployments and the resulting operations. He has held management positions in T&D, power engineering, SAP project, IT and operations technology organizations. He holds a BSCE degree and is a licensed professional engineer in the state of Texas.
CenterPoint Energy | centerpointenergy.com
GE | ge.com
IBM | ibm.com
Itron | itron.com
Quanta Services | quantaservices.com
Wajam CEO Selected as Finalist for the 2012 Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year® Awards – Technology Digital
MONTREAL, July 18, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — Wajam (wajam.com), a leader in social search technology, announced today its CEO has been selected as one of the finalists of Ernst & Young's Entrepreneur of the Year® Awards. Martin-Luc Archambault, Founder and CEO of Wajam, was named by Ernst & Young as one of the top game-changing entrepreneurs who continue to drive sustainable growth and job creation across Canada. Wajam was also recently selected as a Red Herring Americas top 100 Winner and recipient of the C2MTL Emerging Entrepreneurs Award.
Ernst & Young's Entrepreneur of the Year® Awards has become a mark of distinction for identifying promising new companies and entrepreneurs. the Canadian program is in its 19th year of honoring the country's most impressive entrepreneurs from all areas of business. Award finalists are chosen based on their vision, leadership, financial success and social responsibility.
“It's important to highlight all the potential our entrepreneurs harness and share with our markets and communities,” said Francois Dufresne, Partner at Ernst & Young and Québec Director of Entrepreneur of the Year. “Rewarding successful entrepreneurs means recognizing not only their contribution to the economy, but the well-being of our society as well.”
“I am honored to be recognized as an innovative business leader and selected an Entrepreneur of the Year® finalist,” said Wajam founder Martin-Luc Archambault. “We at Wajam look forward to representing Quebec entrepreneurship at the regional banquet this October, and sharing our focus on providing the easiest and most compelling social search experience.”
Wajam is an entrepreneurial start-up that offers two ways to search for social results – through its Social Search everywhere Plugin as well as a search engine option at wajam.com. the Wajam Social Search everywhere Plugin follows you everywhere you search, making search more personal by adding social network results to all web search queries – without having to change user search behavior. Wajam.com gives you a depository of everything your Facebook, Twitter and Google+ friends and followers are posting and the easy ability to search through this comprehensive mashup.
About Ernst & Young's Entrepreneur of the Year® Awards
Entrepreneur of the Year honors the spirit and contribution of entrepreneurs in Canada and around the world. Nominees are reviewed by an independent judging panel composed of several distinguished business leaders and previous award recipients. For more information on the program, FAQs, and key dates, please visit ey.com/ca/EOY.
Wajam (wajam.com) is a social search engine that gives you access to the knowledge of your friends when you need it. the Wajam Social Search everywhere Plugin makes searching the web more personal by adding results from friends to standard searches on Google, Bing or Yahoo! It elevates search relevance by featuring your friends' likes and reviews for products, places, links, photos and videos within your regular search habits, even in places like Amazon, Yelp, Trip Advisor, YouTube and Ebay. the Wajam Search site gives users the ability to search their network of trusted friends and followers across multiple social networks all in one place. As a TRUSTe Certified company, Wajam is included on the TRUSTe ”whitelist” of certified applications that act as responsible software and keep personal identification private. Wajam launched in private beta in January 2011 and was founded by Martin‐Luc Archambault, who was previously CEO of Zango Canada. Wajam is privately held and funded by Bolidea. Visit us on Facebook at facebook.com/wajam or Twitter at https://twitter.com/#!/wajam.
Contact: Cathy Sperrazzo, Eye-To-Eye Communications, Inc. 858-337-7746,