Fast Facts

Member Participants:

Real-Time Innovations, National Instruments, Cisco

Market Segment:

Smart Grids, especially grids that integrate solar, wind, and storage.


Traditional central-station power grids operate on 15-minute output update cycles that force operators to over-generate power to compensate for potential blackouts or unexpected new power demands on the grid. Additionally, they cannot efficiently utilize the distributed, dynamic generation of renewable power sources such as solar panels or wind turbines.


The Microgrid Communication and Control Testbed will introduce the flexibility of real-time analytics and control to increase efficiencies in this legacy process - ensuring that power is generated more accurately and reliably.

How It Works:

The Microgrid Communication and Control Testbed re-architects the power grid system into a series of distributed microgrids that control smaller areas and support load, generation, and storage. Microgrids will operate independently from the main grid but will still interact with existing infrastructure.

Commercial Benefits:

Ensures power is generated efficiently and reliably; Enable efficient integration of solar and wind into the grid; Creates a dynamic, open marketplace for smart grid vendors

The Testbed

The goal of the Microgrid Communication and Control Testbed is to prove the viability of a real-time, secure databus to faciliate machine-to-machine, machine-to-control center, and machine-to-cloud data communications. It will combine distributed, edge-located processing and control applications with intelligent analytics. It will run in real-world power applications and interface with practical equipment.

Three Industrial Internet Consortium member organizations will be lending their expertise to this project: Real-Time Innovations (RTI) is providing the real-time databus software using their DDS standard based RTI Connext communication platform for IIoT; National Instruments is providing the intelligent nodes for edge control and analytics based on their CompactRIO and Grid Automation Systems; and Cisco is providing network equipment and security expertise using their Connected Grid Router. They will also be collaborating with Duke Energy and the Standard Grid Interoperability Panel (SGIP) to ensure a coordinated, accepted architecture.

The testbed is unfolding in three phases. In April 2015, Phase One commenced as a proof-of-concept that ensures basic security and performance. Phase Two - slated for 2016 - will demonstrate the scalability of the Microgrid Communication and Control Framework in a simulated environment. The final phase will demonstrate the testbed in a real-world situation. The first two phases will take place in Westminster, California at Southern California Edison's Controls Lab. The field deployment test will take place at CPS Energy's "Grid-of-the-Future" microgrid test area in San Antonio, Texas.

Interested in learning more about the Microgrid Communications & Control Testbed? Email us!