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Report: Economic Stimulus Bill to Boost Smart Grid Business

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April 13, 2009

Report: Economic Stimulus Bill to Boost Smart Grid Business

By Michael Dinan
TMCnet Editor

So-called “smart grid” and smart metering initiatives – projects designed to update the nation’s electrical infrastructure – stand to get about $4.5 billion in matching funds under the economic stimulus package that President Barack Obama signed into law two months ago, according to an IT market research firm with U.S. headquarters on Long Island, New York.

Officials with ABI Research say that the “American Recovery and Reinvestment Act” will inject capital into smart metering and smart grid technology quickly.
According to Sam Lucero, a senior analyst at the firm, many utilities already are putting plans in place to upgrade distribution and metering infrastructure.
“The new federal funding is not an order-of-magnitude game changer, but it will certainly help to encourage and accelerate new smart grid plans, and reinforce those already in place,” Lucero said.
It’s something that telecom giants such as Verizon Wireless know well.
As TMCnet’s Gary Kim (News - Alert) reports here, Verizon (News - Alert) Wireless says it expects 300 to 400 percent wireless penetration in the United States, mainly because the company already is teaming with Ambient Corporation to deploy smart grid projects nationwide.
“The projects will allow utilities to transmit data from both residential and commercial meters using wireless links, and are an example of machine-to-machine communications apps Verizon believes might become even more prevalent than people-oriented communications,” Kim writes.
“We’ve seen significant interest and growth in the utility sector for smart technologies,” says Verizon Wireless VP Mark Bartolomeo.
According to ABI Research (News - Alert), the stimulus bill’s winners will include module vendors, since advanced metering infrastructure is a major application market within the larger machine-to-machine communication field, as well as smart meter vendors and meter data management software developers.
This last group includes Oracle (News - Alert), SAP, and eMeter, “because as smart metering systems are rolled out, the amount of information needing to be processed rises very sharply,” the firm says.

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Michael Dinan is a contributing editor for TMCnet, covering news in the IP communications, call center and customer relationship management industries. To read more of Michael's articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Michael Dinan

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