AT&T Hops on the Smart Grid Train with SmartSynch


Our electrical grid is aging and teetering on collapse. Worst of all, it can't handle the energy coming from rapidly proliferating solar and wind plants. The technology du jour that promises to solve our problems is the "smart grid"—an electrical grid that delivers energy using digital technology like the smart meter to cut costs, save energy, and increase reliability. The US government is so convinced that smart grids are the future that it set aside $11 billion towards electrical grid upgrades in last moth's economic stimulus bill

AT&T is the most recent corporation to get in on the smart grid action by striking a deal with smart meter company SmartSynch to act as a communication platform between individual meters and over 100 North American utilities.

As a result of the partnership, smart meter networks will move closer to being based on an open standard instead of proprietary protocols since SmartSynch relies on public wireless networks for machine to machine communication. AT&T's commitment to creating a communications platform may also help convince skeptical utilities to invest in smart meters—if they don't have to construct their own expensive communications network, there are few reasons not to deploy the technology.

AT&T isn't the only major player to invest in the smart grid in recent months. Google's PowerMeter  program will allow consumers to view energy consumption (courtesy of smart meters) in near real-time in via iGoogle.

[Via PR Newswire]


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  • Robb Henshaw

    While deploying a smart grid is a great step towards more efficient, integrated utilities delivery, we need to keep in mind that this is not the end game.

    While the smart grid is certainly more efficient, it is still a separate walled garden that does not integrate with important services, such as renewable energy. Eventually, the smart grid will need to evolve and embrace the openness of renewable energy systems, which already have the capabilities to sync and integrate with many other renewable energy systems via open energy management solutions.

    I work with Fat Spaniel -- -- one of the companies that designs these open energy management platforms. We're already working with thousands of energy systems across more than 15 countries to help them monitor and manage all of their renewable energy systems from one central platform. This increases the efficiency, performance and production of these systems significantly.

    And now we're working with leaders in smart grid technology, too, to help move the industry forward. We look forward to the day where the walls are broken down between traditional utilities and renewable energy systems, so that all can be managed and monitored via one integrated platform -- which will not only maximize the production and efficiency of these systems, but also make them far more cost effective.

    And that's the final point I think we all need to keep in consideration -- how do we achieve great systems like these in a cost effective manner? In today's economic climate, and with significant amounts of stimulus money being proposed for the advancement of these projects, it is no longer enough just to be green. We need to be able to pair eco responsibility with fiscal responsibility, and open energy monitoring helps achieve that.