AT&T to Offer Wireless Smart Grid Technology to Utility Companies
AT&T combines new service plans with SmartSynch’s SmartMetering™ solutions to bring smart grid technology to the home.
AT&T* today announced a new alternative for electric utility companies looking to provide the benefits of smart grid technology to the residential sector. AT&T and SmartSynch are for the first time providing utilities with a cost-effective solution by combining a new suite of service plans from AT&T designed specifically for machine to machine (M2M) communications with SmartSynch’s smart grid solutions already deployed at more than 100 utilities throughout North America.
With this new solution from AT&T and SmartSynch, electric utility companies will now be able to concentrate on efficient electricity delivery rather than being distracted by building, maintaining, expanding and upgrading a communications network. This new solution offers a cost-effective point-to-point configuration model in which each meter communicates directly with the utility over the AT&T wireless network.
Smart grids combine “smart meters”, wireless technology, sensors and software so customers and utilities can closely monitor energy use and cut back when the availability of electricity is
stretched to its limit. The IP-based smart grid model ultimately helps consumers understand the economics of their consumption patterns so they can make intelligent decisions about their power consumption. The smart grid technology will also help to enhance reliability and energy efficiency, lower power-line losses and provide utilities with the ability to remotely automate service, providing cost-savings for consumers.
Key benefits of the point to point smart meter solution to utility companies include:
* improved speed of deployment over traditional meshed networks
* the simplicity of an open standard, IP-based network
* the ability to communicate directly with each meter.
“Utilities throughout the U.S. face tremendous challenges to increase renewable energy sources and efficiency, as well as manage new applications, which place new complexities on an already complex system,” said Chris Hill, vice president, mobility product management, AT&T Business Solutions. “To meet these changing demands in support of the recent economic stimulus bill, AT&T and SmartSynch are offering this new solution to help the industry migrate to smart grids.”
Stephen Johnston, chief executive officer, SmartSynch, said: “The decision to work with AT&T on this initiative was clear, based on its network reliability and strong legacy in understanding the needs of business customers and servicing those needs. Together we are providing a cost-effective alternative to private networks, which is shifting the smart-metering landscape for the good of the entire utilities industry.”
Point to point communications with meters is just one of many technologies that AT&T supports as part of its smart grid initiative. AT&T offers a range of strategic mobility products and services to the utility industry, including wireless solutions for field service workers, outage detection and remote monitoring. AT&T’s dedicated team of industry specialists understands the business process from end to end and translates technical solutions into meaningful business value for customers.
Over the last decade, AT&T has invested significant resources in implementing security features on its global network and best practices that comply with national and international standards. AT&T has employed such practices in order to help secure network resources, data centers and customer facing network interfaces, in line with many of the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) Critical Infrastructure Protection (CIP) recommendations. In addition, AT&T offers security management services and business continuity and disaster recovery services which can also help utilities comply with NERC CIP recommendations.
SmartSynch has been the leading provider of IP-based smart grid solutions utilizing public wireless networks since the introduction of its first SmartMeter™ in 2000. SmartSynch’s smart grid solutions are fully certified to deliver smart grid data on AT&T’s wireless network, enabling quicker, easier, more scalable and strategic smart meter deployments for utilities.
*AT&T products and services are provided or offered by subsidiaries and affiliates of AT&T Inc. under the AT&T brand and not by AT&T Inc.
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