gridComm and Virtual Extension have announced a partnership for providing industry with a hybrid connectivity solution of high-performance wireless mesh and narrow-band PLC networks. The joint R&D is supported and co-funded via the Singapore-Israel Industrial Research and Development Foundation (SIIRD).

Virtual Extension and gridComm's partnership leverages each company's best solutions to compensate for technology limitations. The solution will synergistically increase cost efficiency, reduce time to market and even enable a whole new range of IoT/M2M projects that may not have been possible without it. Applications that will benefit from the solution include smart lighting control, smart metering, smart agriculture, smart city, smart water management, environmental monitoring, medical, security and safety, and more

"Our wireless extensions for DALI and IoT networks have already proven to be extremely successful in citywide streetlight deployments and industrial lighting controls, as well as in smart metering and a large variety of applications that need to be high-performance and yet cost-effective," said Yariv Oren, CEO of Virtual Extension. "Adding PLC connectivity further increases their usefulness for our customers, and helps us expand into new markets."

With three families of products that enable replacing the wiring in DALI by wireless, integrating DALI with IoT or using pure IoT, Virtual Extension offers the largest variety of high-performance solutions for lighting control to be used in highway, street and professional lighting control available. These solutions are based on Virtual Extension's wireless mesh technology -- VEmesh. VEmesh employs space, time and frequency diversity to offer the highest available performance in terms of robustness and resiliency, a practically unlimited number of nodes per network, low and deterministic latency, ease of deployment, and maintenance and cost-effectiveness. The same VEmesh technology is also used in a wide range of products in smart metering and applications in need of such high-performance, with most of these applications capable of benefiting from the additional connectivity offered by gridComm's PLC technology.

Leveraging its multi-channel frequency technologies in its GC2200 PHY transceiver IC, gridComm has developed a fully adaptable, self-configuring network solution, GC-Net, that enables the world's most reliable power line communications solution. With an additional wireless PHY channel enabled by Virtual Extension's market proven VEmesh technology, the combination can now provide a truly hybrid network solution that enables seamless and reliable communications amongst wired, wireless and hybrid wired-wireless nodes within a unified network.

Managing different networks separately with different communication technologies contributes to complexities and increases overhead in the systems. Virtual Extension and gridComm have changed that. The hybrid connectivity solution brings huge benefits such as a common set of commands and network IDs that can now be used to address and control wired, wireless and hybrid wired-wireless nodes.

"We are very encouraged and thankful to SIIRD for enabling gridComm and Virtual Extension to develop this cutting-edge hybrid PLC and wireless technology," noted Mike Holt, CEO of gridComm. "We foresee that this technology will tremendously reduce meter installation and maintenance costs through automatic configuration of PLC and wireless channels, enabling robust and reliable sustained communications in noisy environments. This technology will also enable our customers to connect wireless sensors, such as weather sensors, light sensors and motion sensors to our smart street light system effortlessly. This will truly enable the realization of a Smart City."