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New Intel gateway lets utilities talk to legacy devices

Chipmaker's grid-oriented subsidiaries build new system

ROCKVILLE, MD (October 15, 2013) -- Intel's new "system on chip" (SoC) and the "gateway" system it enables target the vast set of legacy devices on the power grid that need retrofitting to perform tasks such as substation automation, Kevin O'Donovan, the chip-making giant's worldwide director of energy sector sales, told Smart Grid Today -- the leading independent, daily, professional news journal of the smart grid industry -- in an exclusive interview. Smart Grid Today publisher Modern Markets Intelligence, Inc. is sharing it here, free of charge.

The story has been slightly edited for this format and is included in its entirety here and at

Of existing computing devices, 85% are based on legacy systems, O'Donovan said, citing data from IMS Research. So for at least the next few years, most sales of Intel's gateway in the power industry will be to utilities looking to upgrade their legacy systems, the firm believes. Thus Intel this week unveiled the gateway, a hardware-software package that features software from Intel subsidiaries McAfee and Wind River.

The gateway will help firms "develop, prototype and deploy application services," and filter data from the edge of the grid rather than sending it to a back-end system, the Santa Clara, Calif-based firm said. There was big demand among Intel's clients for that edge-of-the-grid filtering capability, O'Donovan said.

The gateway can run on the latest versions of Intel SOCs and is "our big play" in the smart grid market, he added, "based on the fact that so much of the equipment that's already deployed" cannot be "taken out and upgraded. That's just not feasible, economically or any way."

Westfalen Weser Energie, a German distribution grid operator, is working to deploy the new gateways in its substations, Intel said. The systems will help the utility manage more renewable sources of power by interfacing with legacy devices and analyzing data, Intel added.

Intel made a move toward greater sales in substation automation in June with a pledge to develop smart grid products with a heavyweight in the field, Alstom Grid. That pact was about getting Intel's hardware and software to the utility-industry market faster, O'Donovan told Smart Grid Today.

The gateway reflects the strategy of offering Intel products that can be deployed fast by the utility industry, he told Smart Grid Today. "This is something that gets our customers much faster to market because we take out some of the complexity," by allowing retrofits that "virtualize" legacy software using software from Alameda, Calif-based Wind River.

Gateways ready soon

Intel plans to start shipping the gateways in Q1 of next year, O'Donovan said.

The ability to retrofit existing machinery "opens up a whole new part of the market to us," he added.

The new gateway is evidence that Intel's acquisitions of McAfee and Wind River are paying off, O'Donovan said. "A lot of people are asking, 'How does all this stuff work together?'" he said, referring to the trio of firms. "Here's an example of how one plus one, plus one is bigger than three," he added.


Smart Grid Today's mission is to deliver daily, unbiased, comprehensive and original reporting on emerging trends, applications and policies driving the modern utility industry -- in a signature format our founders have developed over decades in the trade news business, featuring highly concise and easy-to-understand news copy based on trusted reporting, exclusive interviews, informed analysis and strategic insights that our subscribers rely on to succeed every business day.  Smart Grid Today is published by Modern Markets Intelligence, Inc.


Brett Brune
VP of Editorial
Modern Markets Intelligence, Inc.

Season Crawford
VP of Marketing
Modern Markets Intelligence, Inc.


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