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An integrated, two-way communications and networking platform is essential to the Smart Grid. The space is getting crowded as vendors see the handwriting (and stimulus money) on the wall. Those competing include major players in the wireless, cellular, and networking worlds. As you’ll read in this section, some vendors are partnering up to fuse complementary technologies that offer a bigger piece of the total solution.

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Want to get started on transactive energy and nanogrids? Steal this government software

smart grid, modern grid, smart grid technology, transactive energy, grid monitoring, grid optimization, electric utilities
It’s an “everything is connected” world where the centralized approach to sensing, intelligence and control no longer offers the visibility and quick response time needed to effectively monitor and manage the grid. Read on to learn about a transactive energy solution that can help.

The hard questions to ask BEFORE choosing your smart grid communications system

smart grid, modern grid, smart grid technology, smart grid communications, communications networks, electric utilities
Shopping wisely for the right communications system is a critical step in any smart grid or smart meter project. Contributing author Paul Alvarez offers recommendations on the important questions utility executives should be asking before they buy.

Smart grid tech: A bit of what’s new from the technology sector

smart grid, modern grid, smart grid technology, smart grid companies, smart grid vendors, distribution automation, communications, energy storage
The quest for better smart grid technologies and enhancements never stops. Read about GE Digital Energy’s new time synchronization solution, ABB’s latest secondary substation, a new analytics offering from C3 Energy and other platforms and devices.

Skim 7 years of smart grid progress in 6 minutes

smart grid, modern grid, smart grid technology, smart grid initiatives, EPRI, electric utilities
Readers can learn a lot about how the smart grid has evolved just by watching a short video from EPRI. The video highlights the most important results of its Smart Grid Demonstration Initiative, and it can also be mined for ideas on how utilities can explain their own initiatives in an understandable way.

Exelon seeks OK for Pepco purchase… and more smart grid developments

smart grid, modern grid, smart grid technology, smart grid projects, mergers and acquisitions, smart grid companies, smart grid vendors
Exelon Corporation and Pepco Holdings have filed an application with FERC for Exelon’s proposed purchase of Pepco. Read about the transaction and other smart grid news from Tantalus, Aclara and more, and about honors for EnerNOC and Memphis, Light, Gas and Water.

Coming soon? Power lines that can tell you whether they are swaying in the wind

smart grid, modern grid, smart grid technology, transmission, distribution, grid optimization, asset management, outage management, sensors, electric utilities
Power line movement can be a problem if a line blown by the wind touches trees, buildings or other lines. It can also cause line fatigue. A Washington state company recently filed a patent for putting accelerometers on power lines to determine if and how they are moving, which could help prevent mechanical failure.

Why and how to future-proof your smart grid communications

smart grid, modern grid, smart grid technology, smart grid communications, grid optimization, electric utilities, Elster
Communications networks are critical elements of every smart grid project, and must be able to accommodate today’s and future demands. Ron Pate of Elster provides plenty of food for thought (and plenty of detail) in his thoughtful piece on the fresh approach network operators and vendors need to take if communications systems are to be as flexible and interoperable as they need to be.

Can utilities solve their broadband needs through FirstNet? (Please tell me you know about FirstNet!)

smart grid, modern grid, smart grid technology, FirstNet, first responders, broadband, electric utilities
FirstNet will build a nationwide broadband network for first responders and is considering who should be eligible. Many believe utilities would be a perfect fit for the network and that it would offer them a substantial benefit in return. But utilities need to decide if and how they want to be involved.

A low-cost way to make grid communications more resilient: traffic duplication

smart grid, modern grid, smart grid communications, traffic duplication, legacy equipment, smart grid strategy, electric utilities
As it is in other areas of the smart grid sector, the chore of supporting legacy equipment while making the transition to next-generation communications is a difficult one. Motty Anavi explains how utilities can not only continue to use their legacy equipment as they migrate to newer technology, but also improve resiliency.

It will soon be easier to mix and match wireless and powerline communications

smart grid, modern grid, smart grid communications, smart grid standards, wireless communications, powerline communications, HomePlug Alliance, Wi-SUN Alliance, electric utilities
Hybrid networks with both powerline and wireless communications are inevitable, and two major standards organizations are working toward a solution to make that coexistence easier to manage. Read the story to find out what the HomePlug and Wi-SUN alliances are doing to make it happen.

The 5 issues forcing utilities to future-proof their mobile networks

smart grid, modern grid, mobile workforce, mobile workforce management, electric utilities
As utilities shift to a more de-centralized and distributed workforce, communications with field workers become more critical. Guest author Lee Johnson outlines the changes the shift has created and why it’s so important for utilities to future-proof their mobile networks to accommodate and keep pace with them.

Smart grid security: Are wireless networks our weakest link?

smart grid, smart grid technology, smart grid security, cybersecurity, wireless networks, communications, electric utilities
Wireless networks have been identified as the grid’s weakest link. We’re not so sure that’s the case, but wanted to share why researchers reached that conclusion. Here’s a clue: it’s not so much the networks themselves as it is the people running them.

Smart Grid 101: the Internet of Things and the smart grid (Part 1)

Smart grid, smart grid technology, Internet of Things, IoT, smart grid strategy
Smart grid is frequently thought of as the first and largest example of the Internet of Things. Kristopher Ardis, Executive Director of Maxim Integrated, launches a four-part series with his thoughtful piece on smart grid and the fantasies and realities of the Internet of Things.

3D interoperability: Why utilities should make the leap and reap the benefits

Smart Grid, Elster smart grid, smart grid interoperability, smart grid communications, 3d interoperability for smart grid, Electric Utilities
When 2D interoperability among hardware, communications and applications transforms into 3D interoperability, the enhancements to reliability, security, safety and flexibility can be dramatic (and significant) for utilities. That's according to Elster Solutions VP Pat Corrigan, who explains in today's guest column how system-wide technology transparency can also eliminate rippling upgrade costs. Don't miss it.

Three important new reasons utilities MUST engage customers

Smart grid, consumer engagement, customer care, smart grid stragegy, communications, electric utilities
If you think utilities are under a lot of pressure to step up their customer engagement game, you’re right. A new report from communications solutions firm iFactor identifies where all that prodding is coming from, and why improved customer engagement is good for both customers and utilities.

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