AT&T; Offering Wireless Network as Smart Grid Solution

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photo by mrbill via Flickr CC

AT&T; and SmartSynch feel that their resources combined provide a better way to get the smart grid up and running. SmartSynch will use AT&T;'s wireless network as a platform between homeowners with smart meters and utility companies. A new suite of services by AT&T;, designed for SmartSynch's grid solutions, will enable machine to machine communication and create a cheap way for utilities to hook up with smart grid technology. With this package, each meter will communicate with the utility via the AT&T; wireless network.

"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."

Utility companies, while recognizing that the smart grid is an impending system for them they they'll have to get on board with, are not necessarily eager to make the switch. New infrastructure, software, processes and the like take time and money, and an industry that provides electricity to the entire population of the United States is not eager to work out kinks and bugs as they go along. The idea of using an existing wireless network could be appealing as a way to cut out some of the fuss of setting up the grid, at least in the beginning.

It's a first step, but not a complete solution. The smart grid is intended to let customers and utilities work with each other to make power consumption as efficient as possible, and more than jumping on cellular companies' wireless networks is needed for that. But to get information from the customer back to the utility, the already-existing cellular networks are an appealing option. And we'll get to see how it works out with the new services from AT&T.;

Via Press Release.

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