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Sarian Technology Enables EDF Energy Networks to Monitor 400 Substations in South-East England


MINNETONKA, Minn. (May 2008) – Sarian Systems, a Digi International Inc (NASDAQ:DGII) company and manufacturer of mission-critical communications products today announced that EDF Energy, one of the largest energy companies in the UK, is deploying Sarian’s mobile routing technology to remotely monitor the performance of 400 of its electricity substations across London and England’s South East.

The six-month roll-out involved equipping EDF Energy’s Networks Branch substations in the South East of England with Sarian MR4110 wireless routers, which allow the company to remotely monitor its electricity substations. EDF Energy Networks is also using Sarian’s REMOTEMANAGER software to configure and manage all of the units. This allows the company to diagnose and remedy problems without having to dispatch an engineer every time an issue occurs, as had been the case in the past.

The company is now using the Sarian routers to link its legacy monitoring system to a wireless internet protocol (IP) network. Performance information is sent initially via EDF Energy Networks’ VSAT satellite network. However, if there is a network problem or if the primary connection becomes unavailable, the routers intelligently detect the issue and switch to a GPRS mobile network connection.

Being the largest electricity distribution network owner in the UK, maintaining and managing the vast number of substations was previously labor-intensive and expensive, particularly due to the time it takes to travel between substations located across the large South East region, including Surrey, Sussex and Kent. Sarian Remote Manager now allows EDF Energy Networks to configure and conduct routine operations, such as software upgrades, remotely at scheduled times. It also provides the company with essential security functions such as an audit trail of events for each unit. This is vital, given that the company operates a critical part of the national infrastructure.

EDF Energy Networks opted for the Sarian offering based on its extensive security features and Sarian’s previous work in supplying secure and reliable routers for ATM machines and point-of-sales systems in the retail sector. EDF Energy Networks recognized that this experience meant the company was well suited to helping ensure compliance with best practice guidelines and regulations.

“The new management system means we no longer have to dedicate time and money sending out our staff to either fix problems or wait for external engineers at substations,” said Roger Yeo, senior project engineer with EDF Energy Networks. “The Sarian solution has provided us with a lot more control. We can now either fix the problems ourselves remotely or make a more informed decision about whether an engineer is needed.”

“For monitoring critical performance, companies cannot risk failures and downtime, which is a major issue with traditional wired connections,” said Andy Hood, vice president of business development for Digi International and former managing director at Sarian. “Increasing numbers of companies are realizing that a cellular wireless solution can now provide users with a quick and reliable connection, and more importantly, offer alternative back-up mobile networks which can be seamlessly switched to without any noticeable effect.”


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