The last few years have witnessed a tremendous growth of the demand for wireless services and a significant increase of the number of mobile subscribers. A recent data traffic forecast from Cisco reported that the global mobile data traffic reached 1.2 zettabytes per year in 2016, and the global IP traffic will increase nearly threefold over the next 5 years. Based on these predictions, a 127-fold increase of the IP traffic is expected from 2005 to 2021. It is also anticipated that the mobile data traffic will reach 3.3 zettabytes per year by 2021, and that the number of mobile-connected devices will reach 3.5 per capita.
With such demands for higher data rates and for better quality of service (QoS), fifth generation (5G) standardization initiatives, whose initial phase was specified in June 2018 under the umbrella of Long Term Evolution (LTE) Release 15, have been under vibrant investigation. In particular, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) has identified three usage scenarios (service categories) for 5G wireless networks: (i) enhanced mobile broadband (eMBB), (ii) ultra-reliable and low latency communications (uRLLC), and (iii) massive machine type communications (mMTC). The vast variety of applications for beyond 5G wireless networks has motivated the necessity of novel and more flexible physical layer (PHY) technologies, which are capable of providing higher spectral and energy efficiencies, as well as reduced transceiver implementations.
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For the November 2012 edition, we focus on recent patents in signal processing for the smart grid. Recently, much work is being done in industry and academia in which communications and signal processing ideas are being used to improve the efficiency and robustness of power delivery using the available and envisioned electrical grid. The selection below includes patents issued in the recent past on various topics including power pricing and delivery, communication over power lines, identification of power grids.
US 8,279,870, "Method and system of routing in a utility smart-grid network", by G. Flammer and R. Vasvani, filed 1 August 2007, issued 2 October 2012, assigned to Silver Spring Networks, Inc. (Redwood City, CA).
US 8,301,487, "System and methods for calibrating pricing power and risk scores", by J. Rapperport, J. Johnson, G. Callioni, A. Gray, S. Geraghty, V. Gorlov and A. Mehra, filed 23 March 2009, issued 30 October 2012, assigned to Vendavo, Inc. (Mountain View, CA).
US 8,279,642, "Apparatus for converting direct current to alternating current using an active filter to reduce double-frequency ripple power of bus waveform", by P. Chapman, B. Kuhn, R. Balog, J. Kimball, P. Krein and A. Gray, filed 21 September 2009, issued 2 October 2012, assigned to SolarBridge Technologies, Inc. (Austin, TX).
US 8,279,058, "System, device and method for communicating over power lines", by M. Sharma, filed 6 November 2008, issued 2 October 2012, assigned to Current Technologies International GmbH (Magenwil, CH).
US 8,260,579, "Automatic identification of multiple power grids using data synchronization", by J. Bickel and R. Carter, filed 1 July 2009, issued 4 September 2012, assigned to Schneider Electric USA, Inc. (Palatine, IL).
US 8,121,741, "Intelligent monitoring of an electrical utility grid", by J. Taft and Y. Zhu, filed 9 May 2008, issued 21 February 2012, assigned to International Business Machines Corporation (Armonk, NY).
US 8,068,938, "Method and system for managing a load demand on an electrical grid" by L. Fujita, filed 15 May 2009, issued 29 November 2011, assigned to General Electric Company (Schenectady, NY).
US 8,290,635, "Reducing power consumption in a network by detecting electrical signatures of appliances", by A. Cohen, filed 23 June 2010, issued 16 October 2012, assigned to Greenlet Technologies Ltd (Tel Aviv, Israel).
US 8,265,798, "System and method of curtailing energy production within congestive grid operating environments", by K. Imes, filed 2 March 2011, issued 11 September 2012, assigned to Kingston Consulting, Inc. (Austin, TX).
US 7,945,502, "Online trading and dynamic routing of electric power among electric service providers" by A. Mashinsky and C. Eng, filed 27 August 2001, issued 17 May 2011, assigned to AIP Acquisition LLC (Fort Lee, NY).
US 8,195,337, "Method and apparatus for orchestrating utility power supply and demand in real time using a continuous pricing signal sent via a network to home networks and smart appliances" by R. Cruickshank, filed 14 April 2009, issued 5 June 2012, assigned to the inventor.
If you have an interesting patent to share when we next feature patents on signal processing for smart grid applications, or if you are especially interested in a signal processing research field that you would want to be highlighted in this section, please send email to Shantanu Rane (rane AT merl DOT com).
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