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T&D World Magazine

Watteco Establishes U.S. Sales, Marketing and Technical Support Headquarters

Watteco SAS, a French System on Chip manufacturer of “no new wire” Power Line Communication (PLC) modems for energy efficiency and intelligent home control applications, has established a U.S. sales, marketing and technical support headquarters in California to anchor the company’s growing North American business operations and support the launch of several key powerline networking products for the residential energy-management market.

The Department of Energy, in its 48-page primer, “The Smart Grid: An Introduction,” describes next-generation energy management using the Internet as, “a grid remarkable in its intelligence and impressive in its scope,” which will “spur the kind of transformation that the Internet has already brought to the way we live, work, play and learn.”

According to the analyst firm ON World, massive rollouts of smart metering and other energy-management systems are underway, worldwide, driven by governments’ legislation and billions of dollars in funding for “smart grid” technologies. This funding is being poured into new technologies used to connect in-home electrical devices to the electrical grid, including programmable thermostats, energy displays, smart plugs, and renewable energy sources. These smart-grid-connected devices that make up the Home Area Network empower consumers with real-time control of their energy use, and also help utilities build the smart grid.

Watteco’s compact, low-power Watt Pulse Communication (WPC) modem technology provides an economical powerline solution for enabling this new “smart” energy command-and-control infrastructure. The technology is implemented using existing indoor/outdoor electrical wire within an in-home electrical network, and is designed to significantly reduce power consumption while simplifying residential comfort control and security management. The highly reliable technology interconnects with other popular protocols such as IEEE802.15.4 and can also interoperate with the existing Internet Protocol (IP) network. It has the potential to enable a single, centralized backbone solution for home automation and exchange between a variety of existing and new digital-home devices, modules and the grid -- from simple relay-mode applications to full bidirectional communication and high-end mesh networks for comprehensive intelligent home control.

Watteco’s U.S. operations will be headed by Didier Boivin, marketing vice president, a U.S. semiconductor industry veteran with extensive background in broadband, wireless and consumer market segments. Prior to joining Watteco, Didier was marketing vice president for Centillium Communications. He also has North American management and marketing experience with companies such as DSP Group, where he was president and chief executive officer of the company’s VoicePump subsidiary. Other prior experience includes Alcatel Microelectronics, where he was general manager, and Rockwell Semiconductor Systems, where he was a product line manager.

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