Here is why Echelon, IMO, is a beter investment than ITRI and why they are working to be the "Andriod of the Smart Grid". Note that he NES system, specifically the COS software, allows for other companies to develop applications that can provide value to the utility. Without COS, the utility can't effectively manage load when electric cars, solar panels etc are connected to the grid. The solution is meter indpendent. A utility using ITRI's meters would still want to use COS. From Echelon's website:
"....meshed RF grid solutions rely on proprietary communications technology that limits a utility's choices once the solutions are deployed. And AMI or AMR solutions are purpose-built silos of functionality.
The NES System has no such limits. To ensure maximum flexibility for future upgrades and expansion, the system is based on open, international networking standards at every level — enterprise system software, WAN, and meter.
•The COS software platform enables open app development, the integration of existing metering systems, and the addition and integration of new technologies like electric vehicles. •Intelligent distributed control that's local to consumers leverages both medium-voltage assets like reclosers and capacitor banks, and low-voltage assets like smart meters to provide localized, edge-of-the-grid stability, reliability, and responsiveness. •IP-based WANs easily integrate with the NES System regardless of type, from WiMAX to GPRS modem to BPL. •The NES System ensures that a utility can provide HAN and, through the utility enterprise, use existing and emerging hardware and software standards such as ZigBee. •COS management software deploys, manages, and updates apps and manage millions of meters and other utility assets."
(twincity): "From Echelon's website: ....meshed RF grid solutions rely on proprietary communications technology that limits a utility's choices once the solutions are deployed."
Clearly Echelon (a company that lives or dies by PLC) would not emphasize one particular proprietary RF MESH technology and focus their comments on that technology...would they? So, are you suggesting that ZigBee is a closed, proprietary technology? What about WiFi...is that proprietary also? There are standards activities underway in both NA and Europe to define standard wireless elements of the smart grid. You might check the WiFi and Zigbee alliances to see what they are doing relative to smart grid initiatives.
You also seem to be missing a significant point: there is the pipe (PLC, wired, wireless), there is the protocol that manages data through the pipe, and there are the applications which utilize the data sent over the pipe. The applications do not care how the pipe is constructed or what protocols are used....they simply utilize the data received. An application can work with virtually any network topology and any protocol.
As an Ecehlon employee, you should be proud of your company and you should believe in what they do. However, as an investor you should attempt to be less biased and consider more information than what is published on the company website...just my opinion.