Next Generation Communications Blog

Smart Grid

Partnering to Meet the Challenges and Opportunities in Building Smart Cities

The dynamics of this global change are fairly well known, although how to address the challenges isn’t so obvious. For example, cities consume three quarters of energy and contribute 80 percent of CO2 emissions globally, according to a recent report in The Guardian. How can that energy be most effciently delivered, with minimal environmental impact?

Consensus is emerging that what’s needed are smarter, safer, greener cities. Governments and municipalities are under pressure to invest in sustainable infrastructure capable of efficiently delivering services to citizens and workers.

There’s a pretty compelling smart grid transformation opportunity for public-private partnerships embedded in this evolution. Together, telecom service providers and information and communication technology (ICT) providers can bring in their assets, expertise and experience to help power utilities meet goals for smart grid applications.

Smart Cities Will Make Our Lives Better

By: Anthony Trinh, Integrated Marketing Assistant, Alcatel-Lucent

The Internet of Things (IoT) is enabling the world around us to exchange data via a common network. This data will actually help us to understand the ‘things’ (objects and devices) in our lives and make sense of it. But how does the IoT improve our lives?

By 2020, the IoT will connect more than 26 billion devices and almost anything – your connected car, your dog’s collar, and even your entire city – will be able to communicate with each another. Cities are getting bigger and there are a lot of opportunities to streamline operations and manage scarce resources with IoT technology. Innovations in IoT technology are helping public and private organizations gain in-depth insight into the needs of their communities. Cities will become smart – developing strategies to improve their infrastructure, plan for long-term growth, create more energy-efficient environments, and keep people safe.

Advancing Utility IP Migration Takes Time and Care

Mae Kowalke, TMCnet Contributor

This is the third in the three part series looking at how IP, which has been playing an important role in business transformation for some time, now has become critical to the utilities industry as it is leveraging the transformation of communications networks to IP to maximize smart grid deployments. In short, taking full advantage of things like smart metering and big data means to improve usage, real-time information and improved interoperability.

The future of the smart grid has unfolded slowly partially because adoption is more than a technology issue, and because while businesses want reliability, utilities demand it; a cautious IP migration is almost a given. In fact, part of the path to adoption goes through social challenges, not just technology investment.

IP Migration Picking Up Speed among Utilities

Mae Kowalke, TMCnet Contributor

A few years ago, the idea of a smart grid and things such as smart metering was the stuff of science fiction. But thanks to recent innovations, a utility that is not working on a migration to IP is behind the curve.

In this second of a three-part series on the value of the migration utility infrastructure to IP as the means to enable and enhance the value of smart grids, we look at an expert’s view of the challenges as highlighted in a recent GridTalk posting by Bart Vrancken, utilities solutions architect at Alcatel-Lucent, who noted, “Utilities telecom used to be very simple, handled in the background with a very small team…The explosive growth in intelligent grid devices with communication capabilities was not foreseen at all several years back. But now we see numerous examples of customers deploying these technologies.”

IP Network Investments Enable Enhanced Smart Grid Value

Mae Kowalke, TMCnet Contributor

The future of the smart grid looks bright. Innovations such as IP/MPLS network connectivity and the desirability to all potential stakeholders in smart cities projects have helped propel smart grid spending in general and investment in the enabling networks. In addition, government programs such as the U. S. Smart Grid Investment Grant Program have pumped $7.8 billion into smart grid systems with accelerated activities taking place around the world. In fact, driven initially by government stimulus, investments by the electric power industry in IP technology is accelerating, with US$200 trillion projected in global expenditures by 2030.

In short, the networking piece of smart grid deployments is critical, as the migration of utility infrastructure to meet the needs to remotely monitor and manage their grids grows in complexity.  “The new IP/MPLS technologies offer a great deal of benefits within the utility in cost savings, operational efficiency and cost savings, and they also mandate a new way to operate, bridging those traditional organizational silos,” noted Mark Burke, VP of Intelligent Networks and Communications for DNV – GL, in a recent GridTalk posting.

Alcatel-Lucent CEO Michel Combes says Europe Must Stop its Cellular Race to the Bottom

Mae Kowalke, TMCnet Contributor

As leaders in Europe debate whether the EU is “back” during the World Economic Forum, the region is increasingly falling behind when it comes to telecommunications, according to Alcatel-Lucent CEO Michel Combes.

“There is a real danger,” noted Combes in a recent blog post on Europe’s digital divide (published in the Wall Street Journal, “that Europe is losing ground in the information era.”

That’s because there is an increasing gap between what the latest smartphones can deliver and what Europe’s telecommunications companies can support due to a price war that inhibits infrastructure upgrades.

“Europe is locked in a vicious circle of competition focused exclusively on price, one that forces operators to reduce their investments and destroys their innovation capacity,” noted Combes. “This type of competition is bad news for a digital Europe and its consumers.”

Motive Machine-to-Machine Platform Helps Deliver on the Promise of M2M

It is fashionable to talk about the Internet of Things, also known as machine-to-machine (M2M) communications. And for all its hype, M2M is growing and starting to reach some of its promise.

But only a little of its promise.

The most futuristic M2M scenarios remain largely limited to intranets of things, ranging from the home to the intelligent city, production systems such as electricity, or just stand-alone intelligent objects intended to provide dedicated services.

“Such cases are still relatively simple, with a limited range of objects and behaviors which are generally designed and calibrated in advance,” noted Mathieu Boussard of Bell Labs recently in an interesting posting, The Internet of Things, a natural (r)evolution.

IP/MPLS-Based Networks Provide Unique Value for Smart Grid Initiatives


By Beecher Tuttle

Skyrocketing energy demands and the push for greener, more sustainable energy solutions has helped bring smart grids to prominence, and has encourage a number of utilities to deploy a next-generation network alongside their electrical grid.

AltaLink, one of Canada's largest electricity transmission providers, is one of the utilities that is currently undergoing the complex, yet highly advantageous transition from a TDM architecture to a next-generation IP-based network.

Overcoming Smart Grid Challenges to Realize Key Benefits


By Susan Campbell

The ever-increasing demand for energy has created the need for the development of the Smart Grid. This efficient approach to energy management and consumption will change the way we produce, consume and recycle energy. The efficient operation of the Smart Grid will be a long time in coming, however, as many challenges still exist to complete implementation and adoption.

According to a recent Alcatel-Lucent article, Dealing with the Smart Grid’s Key Drivers and Challenges, the future of smart grids includes significant changes to the way we live, work and play. It is expected to impact the business landscape, the energy marketplace and the ways in which we interact both culturally and socially.

Ensuring the Future of the Smart Grid


By Susan Campbell

Our growing reliance on energy has sparked a new focus on how to make consumption more efficient. The Smart Grid has emerged as an important focus in this space, projected to impact the business landscape, the energy marketplace and even the ways in which we interact.

According to a recent Alcatel-Lucent article, EPB Chattanooga: Customers at the Center of the Smart Grid’s Future, smart grids will also enhance convenience and control within the industrialized world while positive social progress is enabled in developing countries. The level of skill with which energy providers are able to manage change will determine when and how well the benefits of smart grid technology will gain traction.

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