12. December 2014 · Comments Off on Test tools to help you get your products to market quicker · Categories: Blog, News · Tags: , , , ,

NTS’s Test Harnesses cover a wide range of technologies and protocols. As a leading test laboratory and engineering services company, we pride ourselves in creating test harnesses that have the engineer in mind, developing features and functions that greatly reduce test and development times, as well as, providing solutions that are easy to use, stable and technology savvy. If you need help in testing your wireless technology, including ZigBee Smart Energy, ZigBee Home Automation, and ZigBee Remote Control, contact us today, and let us show you how our tools can make your job easier. The video below is a demonstration outlining the features and functionality of our test harness. If you have questions or are interested in renting or purchasing our test harnesses, just let us know!

We also have developed an Installer Tool which is fully customizable to assist in the installation of home automation, security, and smart energy products. Contact us today for a free demonstration, and let us show you how easy getting your customers setup can be.

03. December 2014 · Comments Off on Be smart – test with NTS-AT · Categories: Blog · Tags: , , , ,

lightbulb-ideaThe future is smart. Smart energy. Smart homes. Smart cities. Smart cars. Smart devices. Smart grid. Smart water. Smart power. At NTS-AT, we’re smart too. We test a wide variety of smart products to make sure that when you ship your smart product, you look smart too.

  • We can help with verifying compatibility/ interoperability of your products. For example, making sure your smart thermostat talks with your home gateway.
  • We can help make sure your product functions as an end-user expects it to. Sometimes when you work on a product long enough, you may lose that “new user” inexperience causing you to not realize that what you think is easy maybe confusing for someone who’s never used your product before.
  • We can help you check the performance of your product. Wireless technologies, which are the heart and soul of the vast majority of smart products, is wonderful when it works correctly – but a nightmare for your customers when it doesn’t. So, can your smart washing machine talk to your customer’s home gateway on the other side of their house? What if it’s on the other side of a brick fireplace?
  • And we can help with a lot more – we have tools to help with testing products, custom test plans to verify RF coexistence/interference, and we can even develop a custom test tool to address your specific requirements.

The future is smart. Be smart – test with NTS-AT.

13. January 2014 · Comments Off on NTS Selected by PG&E as First Provider Of ZigBee Home Area Network Device Validation Testing · Categories: Blog, News · Tags: , , , ,

National Technical Systems Inc. (NTS), a leading provider of testing and engineering services, announced today that it has been selected by Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) as the first provider of validation testing of ZigBee Home Area Network (HAN) devices for use with PG&E SmartMeters™. NTS is now performing validation testing for PG&E at the NTS Advanced Technology division located in Culver City, CA.

PG&E SmartMeters contain a radio for use in home and business area networking which, when activated by PG&E customers, can make electricity usage information available to compatible HAN devices. These HAN devices show how much electricity is being used in real-time to help consumers make educated choices in their energy use.

Based on a PG&E-developed test procedure, NTS is testing HAN devices, which are based on the ZigBee networking standard, to verify that they can correctly communicate with the PG&E SmartMeter. Testing is performed using actual PG&E SmartMeters installed in the NTS Advanced Technology facility specifically for this purpose. HAN devices that successfully complete the testing will be listed on the PG&E website.

“NTS’ selection as the first test lab to perform validation testing on behalf of PG&E strengthens our leadership position in the testing of Smart Energy and Smart Grid devices focused on the consumer market,” said NTS CTO Osman Sakr. “With the further expansion of the Smart Grid market, it’s important to verify that devices function with the specific equipment they are going to be used with—in this case, PG&E’s SmartMeters and the associated back-end equipment. NTS is looking forward to helping PG&E’s partners bring these devices to market for PG&E’s consumers.”

About NTS Advanced Technology

NTS Advanced Technology, located in Culver City, CA, provides a wide range of testing and compliance services, as well as managed services, to the consumer products industry including computer software and hardware sectors. As a leader in the computer testing industry, NTS provides high quality testing services which range from standard hardware and software testing to the development of complex certification and compliance programs for the telecom and other industries. Highlights of the NTS Advanced Technology capabilities include quality assurance testing services, performance and benchmark results, certification and compliance programs, development tools—customer automation tests and validation tools and customized program development tools. For more information about NTS Advanced Technology, visit www.nts-at.com.

About National Technical Systems

National Technical Systems, Inc. is a leading provider of engineering services to the aerospace, defense, telecommunications, automotive and high technology markets. Through a world-wide network of resources, NTS provides full product life-cycle support, offering world class design engineering, compliance, testing, certification, quality registration and program management. For additional information about NTS, visit our website at www.nts.com or call 800-270-2516.

02. December 2013 · Comments Off on Dec. 17 Online Conference to Examine Latest Advances in Microgrid Deployment · Categories: Blog, News · Tags: , , , ,

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The demand for microgrids is growing – not only for military applications, but also for campus environments in the commercial, government, health care, education, industrial, and other sectors.  Microgrids are defined geographic areas in which local power generation, energy storage, and network management allow for disconnection and operation apart from the larger grid as needed. Many feel that microgrids, coupled with the emerging smart grid, hold the key for greater integration of renewable energy resources and a more secure energy future.

The 2nd Annual Microgrids Virtual Summit 2013 on Tuesday, December 17 is a one-day, 100% online conference that examines the business case opportunities, enabling technologies, and architecture alternatives for microgrid scenarios worldwide. The event is intended to help industry players understand the very latest trends, opportunities, and challenges in realizing the potential of microgrids, and to position their organizations for future success in this area.

20% Off Early Bird Registration is available through Wednesday, Dec. 11.  To register, click here.

Expert Speakers:  

  • Peter Asmus, Senior Analyst, Navigant Research
  • Eric Maurer, Manager, Electricity Program, Rocky Mountain Institute
  • Leia Guccione, Senior Associate, Rocky Mountain Institute
  • David A. Cohen, Founder and Chairman, Evolution7 Labs
  • Simon Daniel, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Moxia
  • Dr. Ryan Wartena, Chief Strategy Officer and Founder, GELI
  • Craig Wilkins, Chief Executive Officer, ViZn Energy
  • Scott Smith, Director, GIS Products, Integral Analytics
  • Bill Kallock, Vice President, Business Development, Integral Analytics

Topics To Be Addressed Include:  

  • Defining the microgrid business model for utilities and C&I customers
  • Meeting increasing requirements energy quality and reliability
  • Integrating solar, wind, and other distributed energy resources
  • Microgrid interconnection and integration with the larger grid
  • Reconsidering existing models for energy generation and distribution
  • Meeting Renewable Portfolio Standards through microgrid deployment
  • Latest Advances in energy storage for microgrid scenarios
  • Optimizing microgrid design and location
  • Regulatory and policy developments impacting microgrid deployment

Deliverables: 

  • Attend all sessions throughout the day: come and go to fit your schedule
  • View recorded sessions (audio + PowerPoint) for 3 months after the event
  • Download .PDFs of the presentations
  • Interact live with speakers during Q&A sessions after each presentation
  • Receive a complimentary subscription to The Smart Grid Observer

Be sure to save the date and join this group of top industry experts as we examine the latest technology strategies and business models for utility-tied and remote microgrids. Register by December 11, 2013 to receive 20% off Early Bird rates.

The NTS-AT Smart Grid Blog is a proud media partner of the Smart Grid Observer, the host of the Microgrids Virtual Summit.

05. August 2013 · Comments Off on Certification, Testing & Test Tools at NTS-AT · Categories: Blog, News · Tags: , , , , , ,

testharness-smallFrequent readers of this blog know that NTS-AT is a leader in ZigBee certification and Smart Grid/HAN testing. What you may not know is that NTS-AT makes many of the same test tools that we use for testing available for rental and purchase. Our ZigBee test tools can be used during your development process and can run the same tests that are used internally during certification testing to allow you to make sure your product is working correctly PRIOR to submitting it for certification. In addition, our test tools can also use your own custom test scripts to exercise areas outside of the standard certification (e.g., boundary conditions, negative test cases, etc.).

Get your products to market quickly with less time spent on development. Contact NTS-AT today for more information on how we can help.

01. July 2013 · Comments Off on Smart Grid HAN Device Testing 101 · Categories: Blog · Tags: , , , ,

1000-MarketYour company has developed a KILLER smart grid device for the home. You know you’ll capture the market since NO ONE has ever developed something this amazing. Only one problem – what do you do to make sure it works with the wide variety of smart grid products on the market?

Just like with modern computers, the big goal with new smart grid devices is INTEROPERABILITY. No one wants to be locked into just using one companies products anymore – they want variety and options and choices that they can make. So first thing – you need to make sure you’re getting your home area network (HAN) device tested for certification. But which ones do you need? ZigBee? HomePlug? Wi-Fi? Obviously, it depends on whatever wireless protocols you’re selecting for your product development. There are pros and cons for each, but currently, ZigBee is leading the way in deployments on electrical networks around the world. And if you need ZigBee certification, you should be coming to NTS-AT – the leader in ZigBee testing.

Once you get your product certified for the protocol, you’ll want to talk to the various utilities to see where you can deploy your product. Many utilities are installing smart meters on homes around the country, but are limiting access to the HAN functionality of the meter until they test and verify the third-party HAN devices work correctly without issues – especially security issues. NTS-AT can also perform testing to the currently released standards for several utilities, especially those based in California using the approved test requirements from the California Public Utility Commission (CPUC). Contact us and let us help you out.

There are also several big box home improvement stores that sell smart energy devices that all work together. However, just like the utilities they are also limiting products to those that they’ve tested and verified. NTS-AT also has contacts with several of these vendors so we can assist you in obtaining the necessary requirements. And of course, don’t forget the product tests like CE Mark, safety tests (like UL), EMC/EMI, and others which can be performed by NTS.

The Smart Grid Blog is sponsored by National Technical Systems (NTS) and written by the engineers and staff of the NTS Advanced Technology (NTS-AT). If you have questions about testing, certification or want more information about getting your product tested, feel free to call us at (800) 879-9225 or email us at smartgrid@nts.com.

20. May 2013 · Comments Off on 10,000 Posts and Counting! · Categories: Blog, News · Tags: , , , ,

THANKYOUJust a post today to say “Thank You” to all of our followers. This week, NTS-AT Smart Grid Blog & News will pass a milestone – 10,000 blog posts since our inception in May 2009. Almost simultaneously we’re about to pass 5,000 followers on Twitter, and just a few months ago we passed a quarter million visitors to our site. We couldn’t do it without your support and the support of NTS-AT.

Just a reminder — this blog is supported by NTS Advanced Technology (NTS-AT), a leader in testing and engineering. NTS-AT is uniquely situated to help manufacturers in the development, testing and certification of Smart Grid/Smart Energy products. In addition, we also are able to assist electrical and water utilities in the testing and verification of their Smart Grid consumer solutions. NTS-AT is also an authorized ZigBee certification test lab.

With our state of the art testing facilities, we are able to perform the testing and pre-testing necessary to bring complete, well-developed products to market. Our capabilities focus on the consumer side of the Smart Grid (e.g., smart meters, HAN devices, etc.), but we are able to assist with back-end testing, analytics websites, as well as end-to-end testing to assist you in rolling out devices. Contact NTS-AT today to find out about these and other smart grid testing services which we can offer.

13. May 2013 · Comments Off on Virtual Summit To Examine Smart Grid Cyber Security · Categories: Blog, News · Tags: , , , ,

csvs-200x200-5-23-13Over the past year, cyber security of the emerging smart grid network has become a top priority for utilities. More than just deployment of point solutions, securing the smart grid must be an end-to-end undertaking that encompasses all facets of IT, OT, ICS, communications and infrastructure. Introducing intelligence and two-way communication into the utility network means opening the door to vulnerability, and utilities must proceed with caution.

To help utilities meet this challenge, the Smart Grid Observer will host a Smart Grid Cyber Security Virtual Summit on Thursday, May 23, 2013.  The 100% online event will feature a series of in-depth presentations and live Q&A with industry experts, designed to examine the latest technologies, deployment strategies, best practices, and lessons learned in achieving smart grid cyber security.

Confirmed speakers include:

  • Kim Legelis, Vice President, Industrial Defender
  • Benjamin Beberness, Chief Information Officer, Snohomish County Public Utility District
  • Ido Dubrawsky, Senior Principal Systems Engineer, Security Engineering Team Lead, Itron
  • Ken Van Meter, Principal, Booz Allen Hamilton
  • Leonardo von Prellwitz, Manager-Strategy & Innovation, Cisco
  • Ernie Hayden, Managing Principal, Industrial Control Systems Cybersecurity, Verizon
  • Chris Villarreal, Senior Regulatory Analyst, Policy and Planning Division, California Public Utilities Commission

Questions to be addressed include:

  • Where are the most significant weak points in the smart grid’s security? How should we address them?
  • What is the current nature of the cyber security threat? What do we really need to worry about?
  • What are the latest NERC CIP requirements and how best to comply?
  • What are the key technology enablers and advances for smart grid cyber security?
  • What are the critical lessons we’ve learned to date regarding smart grid security, and how do we apply them?
  • What are the best strategies for securing AMI?
  • How can utilities effectively go about securing software and embedded devices for the smart grid?

The 100% online format of the Smart Grid Cyber Security Virtual Summit enables industry professionals from around the world to attend sessions easily and conveniently. Powered by the Cisco WebEx platform, the format of the Online Summit ensures interaction among attendees and presenters, for a unique, cost-effective, and in-depth learning experience.

20% off Early Bird registration is available through Friday, May 17, 2013.  For more information and to register, visit  http://www.smartgridobserver.com/agenda-csvs52313.htm

08. May 2013 · Comments Off on National Technical Systems Selected as Exclusive Test Lab for Tendril Connect™ Certification Program · Categories: Blog, News · Tags: , , , , ,

National Technical Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ: NTSC) (NTS), a leading provider of testing and engineering services, announced today that it has signed a two-year agreement with Boulder–based Tendril that makes NTS the exclusive certification test lab for the Tendril Connect Certified program. In this role, NTS will execute testing of smart energy devices from various third-party manufacturers to verify they function correctly with the Tendril Connect platform.

Tendril, a leading energy platform company, is focused on driving the large-scale deployment of the Smart Grid. The Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) estimates that implementing Smart Grid technologies could reduce electricity use by more than 4 percent annually by 2030.

“Tendril Connect provides manufacturers with an open, scalable, standards-based program to give their customers options, while insuring their products will work seamlessly with the utilities’ infrastructure,” said Adrian Tuck, CEO at Tendril. “Tendril has worked with NTS for many years, and selected NTS due to its leadership in ZigBee certification testing, as well as its strong focus on customer service. NTS is an ideal fit to execute this certification program on our behalf.”

Tendril Connect provides an open, secure platform enabling energy service providers, consumers, and product and service providers to communicate and share control of smart energy devices in the home. Through this platform, everyone benefits – energy service providers can encourage consumer engagement and direct load management through energy efficiency and demand response programs. Consumers benefit from the ability to see and control their energy usage in real time, while third-party vendors of software and products have an open platform to develop products while insuring interoperability and usability. Based on the ZigBee standard, Tendril Connect testing and certification will be performed by NTS verifying whether the hardware devices built on this standard meet compliance requirements.

“The selection of NTS to perform Tendril Connect Certified testing further strengthens our leadership position in the testing of Smart Energy and Smart Grid devices focused on the consumer market,” said NTS President and CEO William C. McGinnis. “Tendril’s certification program helps to further standardize the industry, offering consumers choices of smart energy devices to use while insuring interoperability and ease of acceptance by consumers. We look forward to continuing to work closely with Tendril as it enhances the Tendril Connect Certified program and introduces new features and functions in the future.”

The Tendril Connect testing covers robust network behavior and ZigBee Smart Energy profile compatibility with the Tendril platform. Areas, such as, joining, service discovery, and network connectivity, will be covered during certification testing. All Tendril Connect Certified products will require prior certification to the ZigBee Smart Energy standard.

via NTS – Investor Relations – Financial News.

01. May 2013 · Comments Off on Home Automation Test Harness Available · Categories: Blog, News · Tags: , , , ,

testharness-smallIn addition to NTS‘s Smart Energy test harnesses, NTS also has developed a test harness to evaluate ZigBee Home Automation devices for development and pre-certification testing. Home Automation is the next big thing at the big box home stores like Lowes and Home Depot. And, as with Smart Energy, ZigBee wireless communications are leading the way.

NTS’s Home Automation test harness (HATest) is based on the same framework at our popular Smart Energy test harness (SETest). In addition, NTS is currently in development on the Home Automation version 1.2 test harness, providing testing for the latest features and functions from the ZigBee standard.

If you need help bringing your ZigBee Home Automation product to market, contact NTS today. Not only can we perform certification testing, we also have our Home Automation test harness (HATest) available for both rental and purchase. Contact us today!