Monday, 23 March 2009

AT&T to offer wireless smart metering technology

AT&T is working with SmartSynch, which provides IP-based smart grid solutions using public wireless networks, to offer wireless smart metering to utilities. The solution combines a new suite of AT&T machine to machine service plans with SmartSynch’s smart grid solutions, already in use at more than 100 utilities in the US. It offers a point-to-point configuration model in which each meter communicates directly with the utility over the AT&T wireless network.

According to the press release, benefits include:

- improved speed of deployment over traditional networks

- the simplicity of an open standard, IP-based network

- the ability to communicate directly with each meter.

Stephen Johnston, chief executive officer, SmartSynch, said: “Together we are providing a cost-effective alternative to private networks, which is shifting the smart-metering landscape for the good of the entire utilities industry.”

That's really the point here. The choice is between using the utility to record smart meter data and companies doing it internally. From the corporate point of view it's primarily a means to track and manage energy use, but for the utility it represents opportunities to add value on meter readings through analysis, offering additional services, changing tariffs, etc. It lets them stay much closer to the client. Utilities will certainly prefer that they get direct access to the data.

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