CALABASAS, Calif. — National Technical Systems Inc. (NTS), a leading provider of testing and engineering services, announced that it has been selected by the USNAP Alliance as its exclusive testing and certification lab partner. In addition to certification testing, NTS will also develop a test tool to assist in the development and certification testing of USNAP certified products complying with the CEA-2045 Modular Communication Interface (MCI) standard. Official certification testing is scheduled to begin in approximately six months.

The USNAP Alliance was formed to provide manufacturers with a standard communications interface between consumer electronics products, such as meters, in-home displays, programmable thermostats and major load appliances such as HVAC, water heaters, and pool pumps. The interface has been designed to allow manufacturers to move forward with the development and release of smart appliances without being locked into any particular communications standard, said the organization. USNAP has recently joined with the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) under the guidelines of the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s Smart Grid Interoperability Panel (NIST SGIP) to bring these specifications to the smart grid as a standard. The specification is now also on track to become an internationally recognized standard as CEA-2045 through the Consumer Electronics Association.

“NTS’ track record in testing and certification, as well as developing test tools, is well recognized in the smart grid and smart energy arenas,” said Rolf Bienert, technical director of the USNAP Alliance. “NTS has the skills, capabilities, and experience that the USNAP Alliance was seeking when selecting a test and compliance partner. We look forward to support from NTS as our exclusive authorized independent test lab.”

Upon the completion and validation of the test specification, NTS will offer testing and certification services for manufacturers certifying products conforming to the CEA-2045 standard. NTS will concurrently develop a custom test tool that manufacturers can purchase from NTS and the USNAP Alliance enabling the manufacturers to test their products during the development phase to help speed certification and ensure compliance.

“NTS has worked extensively and built valuable relationships with manufacturers and utilities over the past several years in the smart energy and smart grid markets,” said NTS CEO William McGinnis. “The addition of the USNAP certification program to our capabilities is yet another example of our commitment to the rapidly expanding energy market.”

“For the last several years, the focus of our work with manufacturers has been on the development of smart energy products with wireless communications," said Osman Sakr, NTS chief technology officer. "The USNAP certification program will allow manufacturers to move forward with their product development without having to wait out ‘standards wars’ as is often the case with new technologies. NTS is looking forward to working with the USNAP Alliance and member companies in providing high-quality compliance and certification services.”

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Publication date: 7/30/2012