Broadband Communities

JAN-FEB 2016

BROADBAND COMMUNITIES is the leading source of information on digital and broadband technologies for buildings and communities. Our editorial aims to accelerate the deployment of Fiber-To-The-Home and Fiber-To-The-Premises.

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46 | BROADBAND COMMUNITIES | | JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2016 SMART GRID Connected Grids Are Smarter Grids Utilities are beginning to leverage fber-powered data analytics to make interconnected smart grids a reality. By Peter Londa / Tantalus I t is widely accepted that a key component of any smart grid deployment is the communications infrastructure that powers the network. Te National Energy Technology Laboratory states that the "achievement of the modern grid vision is fully dependent on integrated communications technologies. Without a modern communications infrastructure … the modern grid cannot become a reality. Integrated communications will open the way for the other key technology areas to be accepted and implemented, leading to the full modernization of our power grid." Te quality and reliability of connectivity to smart devices is often the limiting factor in the quality and reliability of the advanced applications that drive true value from smart grids. Although the convergence of telecommunications and energy management through smart grid technologies has developed beyond the initial push to lay the foundational networks and devices to support advanced applications, utilities are now looking to derive quantifable value from these smart networks and from this data access. Ultimately, public power municipal and cooperative utilities are focused on delivering value to end-use consumers by maintaining high power quality and keeping energy rates low. According to the Edison Foundation, more than 50 million homes in the United States are now connected to the grid with smart meters; many utilities are actively adopting applications and processes that fully leverage the value of streaming consumption data to all stakeholders, including consumers. Utilities are using technologies such as smart meters to improve customer service and to facilitate more frequent communication with customers. With more access to real-time consumption data and self-management tools, consumers will be better equipped to recognize and adopt behavioral shifts to increase efciency and save money. (See sidebar on p. 48.) For utilities with broadband, specifcally fber-connected grids, the always-on and virtually unlimited bandwidth capabilities of fber present an ideal environment to fully maximize the benefts of smart grid applications. As an enabling technology for a multi-application smart grid platform, fber afords utilities and consumers instantaneous access to granular data, meeting or surpassing requirements for advanced applications designed to reduce long-term costs, increase operational efciency and expand utilities' ability to support future applications. LEVERAGING AN INFINITE DATA STREAM Gaining access to streaming, real-time data through networks such as fber to the home (FTTH) is the frst step to realizing the vision of a smart grid. Te next initiative is to identify the tools and strategies necessary to collect, sort, manage, route and store this data to create actionable intelligence for utility decision makers and consumers. Many utilities implement meter data management applications to manage large volumes of electric, water and

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