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Infrastructure design a key component of smart grid growth

By Donna Donnowitz
April 21, 2014

The future of smart grid deployments relies on its appeal to utilities and consumers, but few would call smart grid products "sexy." According to Women in Cleantech & Sustainability, design needs to be the focus of smart grid infrastructure and hardware like serial to Ethernet converters in order to optimize the user experience and overall reach of these efforts.

The news source notes that design may rank in importance next to grid security and sustainability, because the optimal design of smart grid infrastructure and products is what will attract people to it in the first place. One prime example of this is the Nest Thermostat, Laura Meadors, director of Corporate Strategy & Business Development at GridMaven Utility Solutions told the source. The product's main differentiator is its design, and how it improves the user experience regarding air quality and environmental controls. However, utilities need to take a page from Nest's book and start optimizing their own designs, both of physical systems and energy flow, to meet the needs of the 21st century consumer.

Improving infrastructure design and investing in improved hardware, such as terminal servers, has added benefits as well, such as improving security and the flow of information to support operations. Christine Herzog, managing director of the Smart Grid Library, told the news source that one of the main advantages of advanced smart grid design is the ability to optimize customer service because of the availability of key data such as peak power usage, outage detection, observing voltage at grid endpoints and integrating renewable resources more effectively.

"But these benefits remain invisible to consumers. This seems like a good opportunity to make the smart grid more sexy - and understandable - for the average person," the report stated.

By investing in the right serial to Ethernet converters, Remote I/O solutions and other hardware to optimize infrastructure design, utilities will be able to better support the growth of smart grids and their adoption across the globe. The primary pursuit of smart grid strategies should be the optimization of power for consumers and improved adoption of renewable resources and green efforts. Proper design supports these goals and furthers them above and beyond traditional approaches.

Perle offers a range of cost effective serial-to-Ethernet converters to help meet NERC-CIP compliance for the protection of critical cyberassets in substations. The IOLAN SDS HV/LDC Terminal Server is designed to meet harsh environments associated with Power Substations with attributes such as support for substation AC and DC voltage ranges, extended operating temperatures and meeting emission, immunity and safety approvals associated with substation IT equipment.


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