Monday, March 16, 2009

AT&T To Offer Wireless SmartMetering to Electric Utility Companies

AT&T plans to offer a residential SmartMetering machine to machine (M2M) service to electric utility companies. Specifically, AT&T will partner with SmartSynch, which already has smart grid solutions deployed at more than 100 utilities throughout North America. The solution offers a 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 companies said an 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.

AT&T noted that it 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

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