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Smart grid creating positive disruption in information technology

By Max Burkhalter
November 2, 2011
Historically, the utility system and traditional IT architectures are fairly distinct from one another, especially when dealing with electricity's distinct metering systems. However, smart grid changes this, unifying utility systems with IT in such a way that has disrupted multiple sectors.

According to a recent Pike Research study, smart grid systems are so inherently dependent on data that networking infrastructure and other IT systems are integral to their success. This is changing the landscape of utility systems, creating major opportunities for growth as the technology continues to mature.

Smart grid is quickly being embraced around the United States, the study found. This is creating numerous opportunities for sales in Ethernet technologies and other data transport systems that support the smart metering concepts that help make smart grid so popular.

While the networking and other IT systems used to support smart grid will experience growth moving forward, significant upgrades will also come to help businesses identify the best ways to make their future investments in smart grid infrastructure, Pike Research found.

The study said that a growing number of utility providers and vendors are turning to enterprise architecture systems to help them identify the best methods to move forward into smart grid-related investments. To accomplish this, businesses will need to invest in systems to handle data from a diverse range of unstructured sources. This will likely lead to significant investments in IT infrastructure, including network systems, to support the technologies needed to make intelligent smart grid decisions.

With these upgrades in place, organizations will be able to deploy robust strategies to help them make the best possible investments in smart grid technologies. This could prove critical as smart grid continues to emerge as a popular utility solution and is deployed in a wider range of locations.

The potential held by smart grid systems is significant, as they update an aging utility infrastructure and provide significant upgrades that could prevent outages and other problems that often plague utility providers. According to a recent report from the IEEE, the success of smart grid will be almost entirely dependent on the development of smart computing and machinery systems designed to support the technology. Major IT investments, especially in networking and other technologies that inherently complement smart grid, will be key to supporting these smart machines.

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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