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The Year of the Smart Grid is Nearly Upon Us: ITEXPO Speaker

Smart Grid

September 16, 2010

The Year of the Smart Grid is Nearly Upon Us: ITEXPO Speaker

By Beecher Tuttle
TMCnet Web Editor

The current economic conditions have forced many industry leaders to look for opportunities to improve the efficiency of their processes. For utility companies, this is especially crucial. Every year, an incredible amount of energy is wasted in the course of delivering power to consumers through the traditional grid.

To address this issue, some utility companies have begun replacing conventional meters with smart meters. This transition allows energy providers to supply the appropriate amount of power to each specific part of the grid. It also enables them to predict power demands and charge consumers for the precise amount of energy that they use.

In an effort to develop a better understanding of smart meters and other smart grid initiatives, TMC CEO Rich Tehrani (News - Alert) recently sat down with Joaquin Silva, CEO at On-Ramp Wireless, the developer of a system that enables low-power monitoring and control applications within Smart Grid, industrial sensing, and location tracking.

During the interview, Silva touches upon the security ramifications of smart grids and the importance of 4G wireless in the implementation of such initiatives. He also previews his company’s upcoming session at the Smart Grid Summit, which will be held Oct. 4 to 6 at the Los Angeles Convention Center.The complete interview can be found below.

What is the most significant trend impacting the utility market? Why?

Smart meters are replacing existing meters. This ensures that consumers to be charged for their usage more accurately and for utility companies to better forecast energy demand.

How much influence should regulators have over smart grid initiatives?

In principle, regulators should have a checks and balance system in place to protect the consumer and to ensure that an event like the California’s deregulation energy crisis does not repeat itself.

How important is the growth of 4G wireless to the success of smart grid initiatives?

Not important. Cellular systems, including 4G, are not cost effective for smart grid initiatives, or only applicable in small, niche applications.

Don’t smart grids potentially present a major security threat?

Yes, security is a major concern for the Smart Grid. This is why any communication infrastructure vendor should be building in security features from the ground up and not adding it on as an afterthought.

How long do you think the adoption curve will be for smart home products? What will drive adoption?

It may be as long as three to five years from today. The major drivers for the technology adaptation depend on cost effectiveness and the maturity of the smart home applications.

Which will be the year of the smart grid?


How do you see the communications market overlapping with the smart grid space if at all?

The communication market will be a main technology enabler for the smart grid space. In order for smart grid to be effective, there needs to be constant communication within the grid, i.e., source to end points and vice versa.

What is the most overhyped technology in your opinion?

Using cellular technology for the smart grid.

You are speaking at the upcoming Smart Grid Summit in Los Angeles. What is your session about?

This session will be about a technology that is fundamentally built from ground up to address the smart grid communication challenges.

Why is it a can’t-miss session for attendees?

Many attendees are focused on taking existing technologies to fix new problems. In this can’t-miss session, we discuss how On-Ramp Wireless has built a new wireless communication system that is designed to address wireless smart grid communication using a simpler and much lower cost approach.

Please make a bold technology prediction for 2011.

This will be the year where consumers start demanding to see benefits from the early Smart Meter implementations, putting a lot of added pressure on network infrastructure, maintenance and operations costs.

To find out more about Joaquin Silva and On-Ramp Wireless, visit the company at the Smart Grid Summit. To be held Oct. 4 to 6 in Los Angeles and collocated with ITEXPO West 2010, the Smart Grid Summit is the first event of its kind to address the unprecedented opportunity coming from the intersection of two core building blocks of our economy – utilities and communications. This is the event you need to attend if you want to understand the role that IP communications technologies will play in how the Smart Grid evolves – not just for making utilities more efficient, but also for enabling the Smart Home and a new generation of communications innovations. Don’t wait. Register now.

Beecher Tuttle is a Web Editor for TMCnet. He has extensive experience writing and editing for print publications and online news websites. He has specialized in a variety of industries, including health care technology, politics and education. To read more of his articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Beecher Tuttle


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