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Smart grids and IoT: A match made in heaven

By Donna Donnowitz
November 25, 2013

The Internet of Things is beginning to play a prominent role in utility operations, but many companies are still working out the kinks in how to deploy IoT and the necessary infrastructure to bring their systems online and into the cloud. In order to foster any real ROI behind these endeavors, many have turned to smart grid deployments. According to Smart Grid News, these technologies provide for the strongest IoT deployments in the utilities industry, giving more control and management over energy while reducing overall operational costs.

The first step toward optimizing a smart grid and IoT is installing smart meters. This technology will provide the most ROI, adding low cost data collection, swift reaction to power outages, less downtime and increased monitoring of service to the mix. Providers can analyze time-of-use to optimize their networks, and even implement peak demand strategies to lower consumption and reduce their environmental impact.

However, smart grid optimization goes far beyond the deployment of smart meters. Utilities have to consider the cabling, transmission lines, substations, alternative energy generators and large-scale batteries for storage. All of these areas will need consideration as well, from the serial to Ethernet converters to integrate them into the grid to potentially upgrading the hardware itself.

Several technologies will be of critical importance for proper smart grid deployment, such as terminal servers and the appropriate Ethernet I/O infrastructure. Providers will have to consider these purchases as part and parcel of overall grid upgrades. These tools will keep the flow of information on target, minimizing latency between the meters, substations and other systems attached to the grid and the providers control center. The appropriate solutions can be used to integrate wireless networking with the system for improved monitoring and maintenance as well.

The optimization of IoT through smart grid infrastructure will establish a stronger foundation for utility service, reduce overall costs and allow providers to pass those savings along to customers in order to improve the service they provide in ways customers can easily recognize and appreciate. Rather than slowing down innovation, firms need to consider the advantages of smart grid deployment and consider upgrading their infrastructure as needed.

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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