Ping is dedicated to the development of smarter electrical grids. We create products and applications for smart homes and clever businesses.
Our vision is to make smart buildings accessible to literally everyone. Smart grids is a fast developing market and we intent to keep pace and grow along with the market. We want to build a whole new perception of electrical grids, taking a legacy building to the new era of energy efficiency and sustainability. A key concept to this is the IoT (Internet-of-Things). In simple words, Smart Grid techniques and your residential broadband connection to the Internet "animate" your home appliances so they "talk" to you! Your devices can now warn you about their status, auto turn-off while in continuous sleep mode to save money or even be controlled and monitored from your mobile phone.
Our mission is to offer intelligent and affordable plug & play systems that enable control of the electrical appliances over the Internet, while measuring power consumption in real-time. We want to make you capable of turning your legacy building -home or office- online, inexpensively and conveniently...
Ping is a startup company, created by a group of friends and colleagues who share the same vision. The venture started at the end of 2013, evolving from enthousiastic discussions about the IoT concept and geekish PLC vs ZigBee arguments to a business plan and a high-level product design formed up at the spring of 2014.
A major first milestone was our admission in May 2014 to the enter-grow-go (egg) incubation program, fostered by EFG Eurobank and the Corallia Cluster. After a competitive selection process, amongst hundreds of business ideas of considerable quality, we made our way to the top 25 turning PiNG into an "egg" member.
During the fall and the winter of 2014 we aim to grow as a company. The major goal, according to our planning, is to have by Spring 2015 a functional prototype of our system (Proof of Concept). To accomplish this, we have already started to enrich the core team with talented people that will help us with many of the open tasks: product design, marketing, coding etc.
Afterwards, we will require some external funding that will enable further growth and the passing to the production phase. For this purpose, we have to identify and attract potential investors, strategic alliances and/or contributions from research funds. This would be the practical test of whether we are on the right track of implementing our vision and whether we are creating a viable and sustainable business.
Electric power factories all over the world consume valuable fuels, while polluting, to produce electricity for our infrastructures. Not many know though that almost 8% of the electric power is lost along its way to our cities, while 20% of it exists just to meet peak demand hours (~5%). These facts along with the aging billing and power consumption system led to the Smart Grid idea, an upgrade to the existing Electrical Grid infrastructures.
If point A is the electrical power factory and point B our electrified building then an Electrical Grid lays from A to B and whatever is in between. Nowadays this includes the factory, the transmission lines and the local substations. In order to turn to low carbon, efficient and intelligent Smart Grids, digital monitoring and control should be added to the existing system, which means data transmission back and forth to the factory. Two competing technologies are evolving for the required data transmission systems: wireless using GPRS and ZigBee locally and wired using PLC over existing powerlines. Local green power production (microgrids) will be added to the distribution system as well. In other words concentrating, monolithic Electrical Grids will turn to distributed, digital Smart Grids.
PiNG has focused a lot on Narrowband PLC, the prominent wired data transmission technology for Smart Grids. PLC uses the existing powerlines, transmitting over large distances, even through MV/LV transformers. Taking in mind that PLC, when employed in a know-what-disturbances-to-expect system like the Electrical Grid, is unaffected of external conditions and terrain obstacles unlike wireless technology. It has low and stable power consumption and is nowadays internationally stabdarized by IEEE 1902.1. While many power distributors turn to expensive systems like GPRS to implement their Smart Grid, countries like the USA, France, Spain, Japan and China are starting to rely on PLC implementations taking advantage of its stability and low cost. Although taking a leap into that market is hard, PiNG already has the Narrowband PLC know-how and follows up.
Even if the Smart Grid focuses on transmitting power consumption data from the user to the power company, the building itself is left as a black box. What about the energy consumption of crucial home appliances like the oven and the heating/cooling system? What are the preferred hours and days of use? And then again, if we are to move towards "green", sustainable buildings then consumption reduction techniques over home and office devices become crucial.
Here comes the Internet of Things, a concept for bringing your devices online. The idea is to turn your Home Area Network to a grid where your home or office assets talk to each other and -of course- to you. There, you can have full control and monitoring over them. Here is where Smart Grid and IoT comes close as more detailed and useful data are being created for the building's power management.
But that's only the Electric Grid's side of the story. The user now is able to switch on/off his devices remotely, for example by his mobile phone. Smart algorithms can be employed so he will get notified when he forgets an appliance on or when any unusual activity is detected at his premises. Energy consumption of devices will be monitored for him, not to mention the auto-shutdown of the energy-draining sleep mode of most devices, so he can cut off from his electrical company bill.
Some new home appliances or hi-end office devices have already moved towards the IoT concept enabling remote control and monitoring. But what about the legacy devices? What about the legacy buildings, those that do not have the infrastructure to get wired or wireless Internet connection everywhere? Well, these assets won't miss the IoT train, as external devices will be employed in order to log them in the IoT grid. Ping's PlugBee and PlugHive are such examples.
Amongst all kinds of different opinions about Smart Grids and the IoT concept, all agree on one statement: both Smart Grids and IoT will be on the Industry agenda for several years to come. New concepts need new technologies to grow up. Remember that it is not only the idea that matters, but the efficient design as well. Below, we present you the key technologies we employ to let us formulate our ideas efficiently:
PowerLine Communication (PLC) is the promising way of transmitting data through the existing powerlines installation: power supply and data transmission on the same cable! Although this idea is old, transmitting Ethernet signal where WiFi failed and the Smart Grid concept rose up new interest in PLC leading to new robust and reliable protocols. IEEE 1901 (HomePlug AV) for Broadband PLC and IEEE1901.2 for Narrowband low-bandwidth PLC were born.
Narrowband PLC is a Smart Grid choice: It uses the existing powerlines, transmitting over large distances, even through MV/LV transformers. Taking in mind that PLC, when employed in a know-what-disturbances-to-expect system like the Electrical Grid, is unaffected by external conditions and terrain obstacles unlike wireless technology.
And then again it's the Home/Office Automation. There Narrowband PLC is not enough, as it is susceptible to the disturbances caused by all the kinds of everyday appliances. On the other hand, HomePlug AV is meant for Broadband transmission, so it is too expensive for the low-bandwidth need of home-automation control and monitoring. And that's where the brand new HomePlug Green PHY Standard becomes the solution. It is actually a simple and robust version of HomePlug AV, so it's cheap, but it faster and far more reliable than the Narrowband PLC. This is PiNG's favored solution for Home Automation and PlugBee is based on that.
ZigBee is the cousin of WiFi. Employing lower bitrates, it achieves minimal power consumption and cost effectiveness in monitor and control applications. It provides low-cost, self-organized, multi-hop, and reliable mesh networking with long battery lifetime. It is more reliable and has lower emission than WiFi. ZigBee is a new but already mature technology rapidly spreading across the globe. Here are some facts:
When talking about Home/Office Automations, we are talking about an unpredictable electrical system: All kinds of appliances exist and can be switched on and off at any time. The building's construction is also a great issue: The number of the floors, the thickness and the material of the walls, the random obstacles.
It is obvious that a Home/Office Smart-Grid is a challenge. Wireless technologies cannot cover big distances over walls, while PLC can always be affected by bad line quality and a poly-phase electrical system. Ranking PLC higher than wireless in terms of reliability and efficiency a Hybrid system using HomePlug Green PLC and employing ZigBee wireless as an alternative promises the best outcome you can get. In the PlugBees example, imagine them to create an invisible grid, where the connections can be of PLC or ZigBee, all automatically without the user's intervention.
The hybrid HomePlug Green PHY/Zigbee solution offers the combined advantages of the two technologies overcoming their stand-alone operation drawbacks and pitfalls: It provides low cost, seamless PLC to wireless mesh networking to reliably connect IoT devices in any home and office environment.
Ping plug-and-play technologies open a direct communication channel with your premises. Your appliances are your new 24/7 online contacts.
Plugbee turns your house or office Smart and Green with literally no need of intervention to your infrastructure, thus minimizing any non-necessary costs.
PiNG has also employed two edge technologies for the implementation of Plugbee: HomePlug Green PHY and ZigBee. This wired and wireless transmission compination guarantees a redundant smart device that will work where others fail to do so. Each PlugBee check your attached device(s) power consumption, turns it off when Sleep Mode is detected and awaits for your command to turn on or off the selected devic e remotely. The "brain" of all the PlugBees is the PlugHive unit, which aggregates all the power consumption data and produces online statistics as well as your PlugBees command log. If PlugHive detects a device left accidentally on or an unusual device activity, it alerts your mobile via Internet. All PlugBees communicate with the PlugHive with low-power wired trnsmission through your existing powerlines! If for any reason this communication is not possible Plugbee will turn automatically its antenna ON, sending low-emission radio signals to the hive through ZigBee technology. Such a flexibility allows the creation of smart home-grids in practically any environment and even between separate buildings, up to a certain distance.
To finish with, Plugbee is not just a smart meter or just a smart controller: it is both. From these two functionalities we build a large portfolio of services through software add-ons that will transform the way you think about concepts like safety, automation and prevention.
Bring any home or office appliance online in a single move: just by attaching the PlugBee in between your favoured appliance(s) and your wall socket. That's it!
Now PlugBees start building your home Smart-Grid, connecting with the othe PlugBees and the PlugHive: dual communication paths established by the powerline HomePlug Green PHY and wireless Zigbee interfaces. Where powerline transmission fails, wireless comes up assuring full building coverage and uninterrupted availability.
All PlugBees store their data to the PlugHive. It stores online comprehensive power consumption statistics which enable performance monitoring, consumption optimization and custom profiles.
PlugHive is now ready to switch on/off every device, it alerts about abnormal activities and reduces your power comany bill by turning off "sleeping" devices. All that are monitored and controlled online by your mobile or your PC, anywhere and anytime.
Cost effectiveness. PlugBee turns bills to profits: It reduces your power company bill by auto-turn-off "sleeping" devices. You have online access to analytic consumption statistics per hour and per device that lets you manage your power profile.
Control your home/office from anywhere. With PlugBee on, you can switch on/off any device. It even alerts about abnormal device activities. Never, wonder if you forgot the oven on...
Ease of use. PlugBee is plug-and-play. You plug it in between the appliance and your socket and that's it. You don't have to worry about distances, thick walls, attics or basements: PlugBee employs both wired transmission via your existing powerlines infastracture and wireless where wired fails!
190 Syggrou Ave., 176 71, Athens, Greece