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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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Webinar: Preparing for smart meter deployment and the mobile market

Join IBM for a FierceLive! Webinar on Sept. 30th to learn how to efficiently test scalability and to prepare the back office for the mobility and data explosion while keeping customers satisfied within your generation and delivery network.

Why utilities need to to future-proof their mobile networks

smart grid, modern grid, smart grid technology, mobile workforce, mobile communications networks, electric utilities
The move toward improved grid resiliency and reliability depends to a large degree on effective communications with workers in the field. And that of course means ensuring mobile networks are flexible enough to anticipate and accommodate changes in the business environment. Guest author Lee Johnson explains why flexibility is so important and shares thoughts on how to achieve it.

The 5 essentials for better customer engagement

smart grid, modern grid, customer engagement, customer engagement srategy, electric utilities
Most utilities have customer engagement programs of some kind by now. But are they doing enough, doing it right? Guest author Martin Milani explains why a comprehensive strategy that cost-effectively engages customers across all touch points and programs is far better than stand-alone solutions. And he shares proven approaches for ensuring meaningful engagement.

Will you soon be asked to share your utility communications network? (With a water department for instance)

smart grid, modern grid, smart grid technology, Itron, electric utilities, water utilities, smart water, smart grid strategy
While some may initially balk at the idea of sharing utility communications networks with another operation, such as a water department, both can benefit tremendously from sharing a network and information. Click to read about a private electric utility and a city water department that plan to do just that. It’s said to be the first collaboration of its kind.

Should utilities sell TV and Internet anywhere? Chattanooga's EPB thinks so

smart grid, modern grid, smart grid technology, EPB, electric utility services, smart grid strategy
Chattanooga utility EPB is well-known for its smart grid innovations. Now the company is asking regulators for permission to do something else innovative: sell TV and Internet services outside its service area. Click to find out more about what the utility has in mind.

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.

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