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What is a Smart Box?
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So what is a 'Smart Box'?

'Smart Box' is the generic term used to describe products installed on the distribution network with embedded communications, often this communications link will be wireless GPRS/GSM.

So why not just use SCADA to collect data?

Whilst smart boxes could be used to send data directly into the SCADA system this is usually undesirable for a number of reasons:

  • SCADA's inability to support the large number of smart boxes likely to installed
  • The protocols used by smart boxes are often not supported on SCADA
  • The final destination of smart box data is often not exclusively SCADA
  • A central smart box data concentrator offers better performance than SCADA

Who's making these smart boxes?

Lots of companies. GPRS modems lend themselves to being added into an electronic products design. In the past a "widget maker" would have an LED to display status - now with the low cost, low power, and small size of GPRS modems this can be built into the widget's pcb design to extend the functionality of the widget. Now the widget can tell you the LED is on and why it's been turned on.

Real world applications?

These are just some of the applications where smart boxes are already available and supported on iHost.

  • Substation circuit breaker and battery charger monitoring
  • MV network Fault Passage Location
  • Fluid filled cable pressure alarms
  • Various substation and asset security applications
  • Embedded generator metering (including piping into NMS)
  • Substation site metering (including piping data into NMS)
  • MV network quality data
  • Various LV fault and location applications
  • Other substation and asset monitoring applications
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small, low power, low cost GPRS modems

low cost, low power, global communications now commonly built into products to increase functionality


smart boxes collect data from the MV network

smart boxes report data from every part of the MV network


beyond the reach of SCADA

iHost puts the right data, in front of the person who needs it, when they need it

Collection of remote communicating devices used by Power Utilities to collect data and alarms for different applications.
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