The NGN Forum focuses on two main areas: next-generation communications and NGN energy applications.
Our new Smart Energy Forum will focus on NGN energy applications and delivery systems such as smart grid, renewable energy, security, billing and integration for NGN revenue generating apps.
A number of major telecom operators and vendors are driving the initiative to expand into the growing energy management field and apps delivery.
Telecom & Smart Grid
Utilities traditionally have developed their own networks and communication systems. However, with the NGN smart energy products and systems required to integrate with smart grids, utility companies are looking toward telecommunications industry partnerships with apps, technology development and OSS/BSS as well as to manage consumer demand.
Smart grid technologies help improve power reliability through smart devices and applications that adapt real time to consumer demand and environmental conditions. Governments are promoting this sophisticated electricity network as a way to address energy independence, global warming and emergency resilience issues.
Smart grids also will require a higher level of security because they link large and small utilities. In addition, utility companies are interested in securing their individual customer product data to include advanced IP addressing such as IPv6.
What is the smart grid, and what is its significance to the telecommunications industry?
According to DOE, the smart grid is defined as the system that delivers electricity from suppliers to consumers using digital technology to save energy, reduce cost, and increase reliability and transparency, using megabytes of data to move megawatts of electricity more efficiently, reliably and affordably. In the process, the electric system will move from a centralized, producer-controlled network to a less centralized, more consumer-interactive model. The fully functioning smart grid will feature sensors throughout the transmission and distribution grid to collect data, real-time two-way communications to move that data and electricity between utilities and consumers, and the computing power necessary to make that intelligence actionable and transactive. Indeed, only by bringing the tools, techniques and technologies that enabled the Internet to the utility and the electric grid is such a transformation possible. It also is able to integrate renewable electricity such as solar and wind power.
The smart grid is basically the integration of two networks: the electrical transmission and distribution network, and the IP communications network.
Where are the smart grid telecommunication opportunities (technology design, engineering and development)?
According to the DOE, some smart grid technology examples include: Integrated two-way communications, advanced components including next-generation FACTS/PQ (security/power quality) devices, wide area monitoring systems, plug-in hybrid electrical vehicles, fault current limiters, microgrids, data collection and monitoring of all essential grid components, integration with enterprise-wide processes and technologies, advanced system protection, and cybersecurity.
Home networking apps and management, which will be one of the forum’s focus areas, is one of the biggest markets for smart grid. Some chip makers already have started to install smart grid “smart chips” in products such as appliances globally.
Some immediate challenges around smart grid implementation strategies include developing interoperability standards and protocols.
Smart Grid Apps Market Outlook
According to Smart Grid News, the U.S. smart grid industry is valued at about $21.4 billion – by 2014, it is projected to exceed $42.8 billion. Given the success of the smart grids in the U.S., the world market is expected to grow at a faster rate, surging from $69.3 billion to $171.4 billion by 2014.
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act allocates billions for energy projects, including $4.5 billion to modernize the electric grid. In addition, other major government initiatives that will increase telecom-related funding include $7.2 billion in broadband deployment grants administered by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration and the Rural Utility Service.
Telecommunications operators and vendors are recognizing that the commercial potential for these new NGN and NGC apps will be a growing and lucrative market.
The NGN Forum has launched the IMS 4G Apps Technical and Marketing Working Group and will be launching the Smart Energy/Smart Grid apps group this quarter. We welcome the telecom and utility industries to become more involved in helping us move the bar for NGN IMS and smart energy services deployment. NGN
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