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Industry screw-ups of 2011

Posted: 27 Dec 2011 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:electronics supply chain? electronics market? consumer electronics?

Zoran had bought digital HDTV chip vendor TeraLogic Inc. through its acquisition of Oak Technology and separately acquired silicon tuner specialist Microtune. Through these moves, Zoran presumably had a number of advanced video technologies used in HDTVs, set�tops and DVD systems. Zoran also owns novel frame-rate conversion IP, which has been licensed to Toshiba, Funai and Sylvania. One could argue that all this IP were really the crown jewels of Zoran's crown jewel, which CSR's brain trust promptly pawned off because they didn't know what to do with them.

So, who'll snatch up the jewels, and at what price? We await the dropping of the other shoe.

C Junko Yoshida

9. The unfortunately named 'smart grid'
We reported that the builders of the smart grid know they're running a marathon, not a sprint.

"We should anticipate that new power technologies will give rise to innovative systems that may leapfrog our familiar lineup of power plants, wires and meters," Theodore F. Craver, Jr., chairman of the Electric Power Research Institute, stated in EPRI's State of the Technology 2011 report.

Smart grid

The 'smart grid' is a misnomer. It should just be labeled the 'next-generation power distribution infrastructure'.

The buildout is a monumental task that will take decades to accomplish. And why is it called "smart" in the first place. Isn't building out the next-generation of power generation a natural evolutionary massive infrastructure problem that needs millions of dollars and plenty of ingenuity?

The 'smart grid' is a misnomer. It should just be labeled the 'next-generation power distribution infrastructure'. There is nothing intelligent about it, except for the fact that newer digital technologies are replacing older analog, or complementing them, and the entire power grid is tied together in a cohesive and efficient manner.

The to-do list items for the smart grid's architects include integrating communications across the grid; developing advanced control methods; tackling advanced sensing, metering and measurement issues; designing advanced grid components that incorporate superconductive materials, power electronics and microelectronics; and hammering out a support and human interface methodology.

There are enough challenges in this list to keep many people innovating and busy. But it is not to make the current power grid 'smart', just updated. As one of our online readers noted:

"The goal should not be to simply do a generational change. At this point it is not enough to do an upgrade. Instead they must create the capability to do future upgrades much more quickly. Take a lesson from the computer network security world, where the infrastructure had to be put in place to respond quickly to the evolution of threats as they are discovered. This is not merely a marathon, it is going to be an ongoing process for the forseeable future. Hopefully they are planning (and budgeting) appropriately for that."Larry M.

So the "smart" in the "smart grid" should refer to the intelligence of its builders. And making it secure is the smartest thing smart grid builders can do.

C Nicolas Mokhoff

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