Trilliant Wins 1M Smart Meter Rollout with British Gas

Trilliant has hopped the pond in a big way. The smart grid networking provider announced late Wednesday that British Gas has picked it for its smart meter deployment, starting with 1 million meters to be deployed by 2012.

That’s a big deal for Trilliant, though not completely unexpected. The Redwood, Calif.-based company first started working with British Gas in 2009, supplying it with its UnitySuite head-end software system to manage the utility’s smart grid devices — meters, smart thermostats, home energy dashboards, and the like — to come.

This most recent announcement expands Trilliant’s role to providing the communications for the utility’s first 1 million smart meters — about half of them gas meters and half electric — built by Swiss meter maker Landis+Gyr. Whether British Gas — a subsidiary of energy company Centrica — will turn to Trilliant for all 16 million of its customers remains to be seen. The British government has said it wants every home in the country to have smart meters by 2020.

Trilliant tends to get less notice than its well-funded smart grid networking competitor and rumored IPO candidate, Silver Spring Networks. But Trilliant has racked up an impressive list of utility clients, including Ontario, Canada’s Hydro One, which is plans to have some 1.1 million Trilliant-enabled smart meters installed by the end of this year.

Trilliant also raised an impressive $106 million round in June from investors including smart grid giants ABB and GE, which are also partners with the company. That comes on top of $40 million it raised in 2008, shortly after it refocused its efforts on smart grid — the company has actually been around since 1985.

Trilliant’s choice of communications technology also differentiates it from most of its competition. While Silver Spring and most smart meter makers have settled on using 900 megahertz wireless systems, Trilliant uses a 2.4-gigahertz system based on the same IEEE 802.15.4 standard underlying ZigBee. To make up for that technology’s shorter range, Trilliant bought long-range Wi-Fi company Sky Pilot last year — an addition that could give them an end-to-end communications solution for utilities.

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Image courtesy of Trilliant.