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Ten Years in the Service of Open Communication Systems
The digitalization of the energy industry and smart metering are core topics in the energy transition. The situation was very different ten years ago, when, back in May 2007, the Open Metering System initiative was founded by the “Remote Data Transmission” working group in Germany’s Federal Association for Companies in the Gas and Water Industry e. V. (figawa). The aim of the initiative was to test the application of existing standards for the interoperable communication between metering systems. The foundation of the Open Metering System Group marked the birth of the idea to develop a standard for open and interoperable electricity, gas, heat and water systems, and for submetering in these segments.
Smart Metering Systems at the Heart of the Energy Transition
Today, digitalization has spread much further throughout the energy industry and smart meters have increasingly become the focus of public attention. This is because smart metering systems for electricity, gas, water and heat form the basis for reducing energy consumption, efficiently incorporating renewable energy and, subsequently, for enabling the European Union to achieve its climate goals. Dr. Werner Domschke, Spokesperson for the Executive Board of the OMS-Group, recalls the beginnings of the Group: “The OMS-Group was founded in 2007 with the aim of developing a communication standard for automatically reading meter data. This standard was to be interoperable as well as vendor- and media-independent. One of our first tasks was to select and later adapt a suitable communication system. The OMS specification is required in almost all European countries in tenders for new systems. It is also taken into consideration on other continents. Today, the OMS-Group has 54 members from 14 countries. In February 2017, we started certifying unidirectional meters according to OMS Generation 4 and we hope to grow our membership base to over 60 this year.”
Working Groups Driving Innovation
Gotthard Grass, Managing Director of figawa and Member of the Executive Board of the OMS-Group, adds: “Our working groups continually work on initiating innovations in the evolution of the OMS specification, defining basic equipment requirements and driving harmonization forward. As such, the working groups make an important contribution to strengthening the competitive position of members of the OMS-Group and users of the OMS specification.”
Pre-Testing the Implementation of the Specification
One of the results of the working group “Testing Norm” is a new testing tool for certifying smart meter communication. The certification authority uses the tool to ensure devices conform with the OMS specification. The testing tool can also be used by manufacturers who have developed unidirectional smart metering devices based on the OMS specification to verify whether the OMS specification has been implemented correctly, before they apply for certification. Their customers can also benefit from the testing tool because it enables them to test for themselves whether the smart meter communication interface conforms to the standard. “We are seeing a rise in demand for the OMS testing tool. This shows that many companies want to prepare their devices for OMS certification. And as the number of OMS-compliant products increases, the number of applications will also rise. We look forward to reporting on these reference applications in future as this will allow us to highlight the broadening importance of the OMS specification as we move forward. Even now, we are seeing growing interest in the OMS-Group,” Gotthard Graß elaborates further.
Members of the OMS-Group include manufacturers of electricity, gas, water and heat meters and heat cost allocators as well as manufacturers of communication technologies, telecommunication and cost reporting service providers, utility companies and companies in the building automation sector. The OMS-Group is supported at national level by founding member figawa. The other founding member of the OMS-Group is the KNX Association, which developed the ISO/IEC 14543-3 standard for building systems technology and supports the OMS-Group at international level. By linking with the EN 13757-x standard for communication systems for meters, the OMS-Group has put itself in a key position for shaping open metering systems.
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