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Developing an IoT Support Tool that Utilizes Existing Power Lines for CommunicationHelvetia.inc Inc.

2020.12.10

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If existing power lines are utilized for communication, IoT construction costs can be reduced significantly.

Product Name = IoT Gateway Adapter "VPLC-1000"

With the Use of the HD-PLC Standard(*), Power Lines can be Used for Communication

Some companies want to promote IoT, but are unable to do so. The reason why they cannot do so includes that the cost versus the benefit of introducing the IoT equipment is unclear, or the cost and burden of building the communication network for introducing the IoT is not easy to understand, and such reasons are not so rare. With Helvetia.inc’s IoT Gateway Adapter “VPLC-1000,” which takes advantage of the HD-PLC standard to use existing power lines for communication, companies do not require new communication wiring.Further, this product enables the easy conversion of various control systems currently in use to IoT.

Because this product uses a wired connection, it can be used in places where devices cannot receive signals or where wireless communication is not available for security reasons. With the high speed of wired communication, large files, such as Full HD videos, can be transmitted without any concern. The product does not need SSID and password settings, unlike Wi-Fi. As the adapter is comprised of modules, various interfaces can be implemented.
*Abbreviation for High Definition Power Line Communication. A technology developed by Panasonic that enables the overlapping of communication signals on power lines to transmit data without requiring wiring dedicated to communication use.

Users Can Choose the Connection Method Based on Their Priority (Speed or Distance)

There are two options for connection method. If users want high speed communication within a relatively short indoor distance of 200 meters*, the “Complete type,” which ensures a communication speed of 95 Mbps (the maximum effective speed), is recommended. If users want communication over longer distances than that, the “Multi-hop type” (maximum effective speed of 35 Mbps) should be used. By relaying (hopping) between adapters, it is possible to construct a large-scale network with a maximum of 1,024 nodes(*2) and a maximum communication distance of approximately 2,000 meters.

Since HD-PLC is designed to overlap minute signals on power lines, it is susceptible to noise generated by various devices. Besides, the influence of noise fluctuates largely with just a slight change in component layout. The company has identified the causes of these problems one by one, by modifying the circuits as well as artwork, and conducting simulations and measurement tests. After diligent efforts, the company successfully achieved the target performance and commercialized this product.
*Varies depending on the use environment.
*2 It means "knot." In the context of computer networks, they refer to the devices (e.g., PCs or routers) that makes up a network. It can also be used as a unit of measure for such devices.

Boosting the Networking of Various Facilities

The product is useful for networking devices such as lighting and air conditioning control systems in buildings, monitoring devices of various sensors, and surveillance cameras. If used for centralized power meter reading in apartment complexes, use for other purposes such as HEMS(*) can also be feasible. It has the additional advantage be being able to use existing cables, for example, when converting an analog camera for security purposes to an IP camera. Moreover, when the advantage that only one power line is needed to supply power and communications is taken into consideration, various possibilities are promising. For example, the construction costs for building various facilities, such as coin-operated parking lots, can be reduced, or a faster and more value-added solution can be offered by simplifying the wiring of security gates.

When a company is interested in introducing this product, Helvetia will propose the best arrangement after checking the related power line layout diagrams. A demonstration test will be conducted before a full-scale introduction of the product. Companies that have been hesitant about conversion to IoT due to concerns about cost and effect may want to consult with the company.
*Abbreviation for Home Energy Management System. A system that optimizes the power used in a home.

Coverage date October 21, 2020

Company Overview

Helvetia Inc.

The company was established in 2013. Its main businesses include the contract development of hardware and software, research and development of systems, and sales of standard products such as embedded PCs for industrial use. On May 18, 2020, the company established the "Minna-no IoT Consortium," which aims to revitalize Okayama with IoT, by means of local IT companies in Okayama and experts in various fields.

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