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RTI Advances Management of Smart Grid IoT Devices with $1M of Department of Energy Funding

RTI Advances Management of Smart Grid IoT Devices with $1M of Department of Energy Funding

RTI Collaborates with Duke Energy and SEPA to Leverage the Data Distribution Service™ (DDS) and Open Field Message Bus (OpenFMB™) Standards

SUNNYVALE, Calif.–November 7, 2017Real-Time Innovations (RTI), the Industrial Internet of Things (IoT) connectivity company, today announced it was awarded $1 million in funding from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to advance continuing smart grid research and development, utilizing the Data Distribution Service™ (DDS) standard. This funding follows Phase I, where RTI received initial funding from the DOE to prototype an advanced technology solution to enhance and secure the cyber physical communications infrastructure of the next-generation U.S. smart grid.

The modern power grid increasingly incorporates Distributed Energy Resources (DERs), such as solar and wind. Because these power sources are highly variable, they are best utilized in microgrids together with local battery storage to smooth their fluctuations. As this architecture continues to evolve, advanced demand-response and millisecond-level coordinated control are required to most efficiently leverage these energy assets. For this to happen, distributed intelligence must be pushed into the grid, allowing these devices to share data with each other and with the central office. In parallel, the communications and control systems need to evolve from analog to digital to successfully scale and support potentially millions of control points.

RTI was selected to continue its research and development of a technology solution for securely managing, configuring and monitoring intelligent computing devices that will control the modern energy grid. This solution will also introduce the concept of platform-independent configuration overlays to meet the diverse grid hardware requirements and future-proof the design. RTI is collaborating on this program with energy standard groups, national labs, IIoT standardization bodies and Duke Energy. This will ensure that its efforts are aligned and relevant across the broader market.

In Phase I of this research, RTI built upon its real-time commercial connectivity software, RTI Connext® DDS, to develop an open, fault-tolerant and decentralized solution that can interface with existing grid systems, with the goal of enhancing and securing the cyber physical communications infrastructure of the U.S. smart grid. RTI’s advanced research team built upon the rigorously-vetted technology of RTI Connext DDS to develop a secure, resilient, multi-protocol and platform-agnostic solution for the next-generation energy grid. 

In Phase II, RTI is building upon RTI Connext DDS to further develop an advanced remote device management solution with platform-independent configuration overlays. RTI is working to mature these innovations with an Industry Advisory Board in alignment with the North American Energy Standards Board (NAESB) RMQ.26 specification for OpenFMB.

RTI will contribute the developed code back to the Smart Electric Power Alliance (SEPA) Open Field Message Bus™ (OpenFMB™) repository for the benefit of the community in order to help advance the adoption of the OpenFMB standard. SEPA is an organization dedicated to working with electric power stakeholders through the most pressing issues affecting the growth and utilization of smart energy. The OpenFMB framework, which was ratified in early 2016 as an industry standard by NAESB, applies IIoT technology approaches to the power grid. OpenFMB is a reference architecture and framework for distributed intelligence that leverages existing IIoT standards, such as DDS, Message Queue Telemetry Transport (MQTT) and Advanced Message Queue Protocol (AMQP) to federate data between field devices and harmonize them with centralized systems.

"As intelligent nodes are introduced into the grid, management services will be essential to configure, monitor and secure them,” said Dr. Paul Pazandak, Director of Research at RTI. “We are grateful for the DOE’s continued support and investment in advancing smart grid technologies and research. The DOE funding we’ve received both in Phase I and now in Phase II is a recognition of the power of the DDS standard in managing and regulating the modern grid and we look forward to furthering our efforts in this regard."

Supporting Quotes

"As founder and chairman of the OpenFMB task forces at SEPA and NAESB, I am very appreciative of the DOE’s support in RTI’s research to further advance the security and management services capabilities of the OpenFMB framework,” said Dr. Stuart Laval, Director of Technology Development at Duke Energy. “We are looking forward to seeing their proposed health and lifecycle management deliverables being developed, validated and contributed to the OpenFMB standards community." 

"The development of effective management capabilities is important to the ongoing evolution of grid-edge distributed intelligence frameworks such as OpenFMB," said Aaron Smallwood, Senior Director of Technical Services at Smart Electric Power Alliance. "With today's increasing focus on the use of DERs for grid resilience, utilities and technology providers will use capabilities like these to deliver solutions that meet today’s needs. This DOE grant to RTI is another step forward in the development of OpenFMB as a solution to meet utility needs."

This project will continue to leverage Connext DDS Secure features, including advanced resiliency, legacy system compatibility, extensibility and high-performance. Connext DDS Secure serves as a software databus for grid edge cyber physical systems, which is a crucial element in securing today’s microgrids. RTI’s technology is the first IIoT standards-compliant connectivity framework to deliver the security, performance and safety required for deployment of these critical IIoT systems.

For more information on RTI’s work with the DOE, OpenFMB and the smart grid, please visit:

About RTI

Real-Time Innovations (RTI) is the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) connectivity company. The RTI Connext® databus is a software framework that shares information in real time, making applications work together as one, integrated system. It connects across field, fog and cloud. Its reliability, security, performance and scalability are proven in the most demanding industrial systems. Deployed systems include medical devices and imaging; wind, hydro and solar power; autonomous planes, trains and cars; traffic control; Oil and Gas; robotics, ships and defense.

RTI lives at the intersection of functional artificial intelligence and pervasive networkingSM.

RTI is the largest vendor of products based on the Object Management Group (OMG) Data Distribution Service™ (DDS) standard. RTI is privately held and headquartered in Sunnyvale, Calif.

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