by K.T. Weaver, SkyVision Solutions
This website has cataloged an assortment of societal risks involved with the deployment of utility smart meters and reasons why they should either be rolled back or curtailed. The purpose of electric usage meters is to support the delivery of electric utility service to customers. This involves the operation of an infrastructure necessary to transmit electricity from the generation facility to the customer. Period.
The purpose of smart meters is not to map the human genome. That’s right. You heard right. There are people out there scheming on how to better profit from the “idle capacity” of smart meters. Forbes just published an article where a company called Hive Computing plans to connect smart meters and utilize their spare capacity to create a networked supercomputer:
“That little meter sitting outside your house might be buzzing away, solving a problem related to optimization of the smart grid, analyzing an individual’s genome to come up with a personalized cancer treatment regime, or performing many thousands of other tasks that require a supercomputer, but that up until now have been too expensive to perform.”
Hive Computing, a start-up company, has an idea that meshes smart meters and computing. Eric Frazier, Co-Founder of Hive, has noticed that utility smart meters sit idle over 95% of the time and have the computing capability of a cellphone. Remember that utility representatives actually use that information in an attempt to downplay the potential for biological effects from smart meter radiofrequency (RF) emissions that might occur despite the growing evidence that smart meter emissions are harmful, i.e., they say that smart meters only transmit RF pulses for a few minutes each day.
If in fact the smart meter were to be used for purposes unrelated to delivery of electrical service, then the duty cycle for a smart meter could easily approach 50%. That is, the smart meter could be active 100% of the time, receiving transmissions 50% of the time and sending transmissions 50% of the time. This would be horrifying news to those who report that their health is already being negatively affected by smart meter emissions.
Hive Computing indicates that 10,000 smart meters gets you into the range of a supercomputer with a teraflop (1 trillion floating operations per second) of processing power. A million smart meters represents two petaflops (two quadrillion operations per second) of capacity.
Raiford Smith, Vice President, Corporate Development and Planning at CPS Energy in San Antonio, thinks the idea has promise:
“With the advent of the Internet of Things and the Smart Grid, utilities are deploying millions of intelligent devices – devices which, when interconnected, can form the basis of an impressive super computing platform. In fact, a 1 million meter deployment would be the equivalent of the world’s 20th fastest super computer. This represents an opportunity to do something good for society by growing low-cost computing capability while giving utilities an avenue to further invest in their metering infrastructure.”
Hive Computing also indicates that the company is only a few months away from rolling out its first pilot in the field and it has already generated a high level of interest:
“We have talked to both meter manufacturers and the utilities that might help us pilot some of these programs… Ultimately we want to roll out with some utilities on their meters. We have some utilities that have said ‘we are ready, you tell us when you are ready.’ Everybody that we have talked to views this as a low hanging fruit in terms of adding significant value to their smart grid investment.”
From the perspective of SkyVision Solutions, this is an idea (initiative) that must be stopped, and I predict that the supercomputing efforts of Hive Computing will significantly increase the organized resistance to smart meter deployments. In addition to health concerns from increased smart meter duty cycles, there would also be cyber security issues where third-party software operating on the smart meter would further compromise the privacy and security of each customer. No doubt such financial exploitation of utility smart meters would also increase the cyber security vulnerability of the entire electric grid which I can only attribute to insanity on the part of those promoting such efforts.
Source Material for this Article
“Hive: Planning to Turn the Hum of Thousands of Smart Meters into a Supercomputer Platform,” at http://www.forbes.com/sites/peterdetwiler/2015/07/20/hive-planning-to-turn-the-hum-of-thousands-of-smart-meters-into-a-supercomputer-platform/
Addendum (Updated Content August 7, 2015)
Subsequent to this article being posted, Greentech Media published a separate article about Hive Computing’s smart meter scheme on August 7, 2015. The article is entitled, “Could Millions of Smart Meters Be Used to Create a Powerful Supercomputer?” with a caption of:
“Hive Computing wants to rival the processing power of Google and Amazon by harnessing idle smart meters.”
According to the Greentech Media article, Hive plans to pay utilities for the “privilege of borrowing their AMI computing power.” How can the utility companies be allowed to further profit from smart meters that are generally paid for by the electric customers and located on customer property? Does this scheme sound fair? I don’t think so.