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(Japanese Site)

  • Shikoku Elec. Develops Remote-Control Java Technology
  • February 2, 1998 (TOKYO) -- Shikoku Electric Power Co., Inc. said it developed supervisory equipment and a remote control system called Open Platform for Appliances Networking (Open Planet) with Java technology.

    The technology is expected to be applied to a wide range of businesses from monitoring telecontrolled substation to remote control of electric appliances.

    For example, an application system has been operative since December 1997 by Shikoku Research Institute Inc., a joint research group of Shikoku Electric Power, for Open Planet. Shikoku Research Institute manages a vegetable factory in Kochi prefecture from the head office in Kagawa prefecture by remote control.

    Futec Inc., a test equipment manufacturer, has been building another application for system monitoring and diagnosis from a site in Japan to a print inspection machine delivered to Southeast Asia. Its completion is scheduled in May 1998.

    Other companies have some projects to build a prototype system for automatic remote metering of watt meters and controlling power transmission.

    The first stage of the design of Open Planet involves a one-chip microcontroller called a neuron chip that is built in a target machine called a real machine. A neuron chip works as a node of LonWorks, a device control network developed by Echelon Corp. of the United States.

    Then, virtual machine software for remote control over a network is created for each real machine. This virtual machine of Open Planet can be downloaded from an HTTP server through the Internet in a similar way to Java applet use.

    A remote control application is coded, handling virtual machine as an object. A gateway function is also set to connect LonWorks and the Internet.

    With the above configuration, any given devices can be remotely monitored and controlled from any offices throughout the world via the Internet.

    The cost-benefit merit of the system is remarkable as a remote control technology, experts said. Applying this system is more economical than developing a new system, because it simply combines existing technologies such as Java, LonWorks and the Internet. Even control software can be downloaded through networks.

    Shikoku Electric Power also is studying the possibility of using a power line for home power supply as a network medium for LonWorks.

    (Nikkei Java Review)

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    Updated: Sat Jan 31 21:32:50 1998