Sprint and Neptune Technology are working together to modernize the nation’s utility infrastructure, the companies announced today. By combining the Sprint wireless network and machine-to-machine (M2M) expertise with Neptune’s automated metering solutions, the companies are helping utilities collect consumption and diagnostic data.
The companies today announced that Neptune’s ARB FixedBase Automated Metering Infrastructure (AMI) and ARB FixedBase Automated Meter Reading (AMR) Systems are now available with Sprint 3G backhaul.
“Utilities want to know that their AMI/AMR system will provide them with the best life cycle value in the industry,” said Kent Murray, vice president-marketing and engineering, Neptune. “Sprint’s network has withstood the test of time and their network investments have strongly positioned them to meet the data and security requirements that our customers require today and in the future.”
Machine-to-Machine (M2M) refers to technologies that allow both wireless and wired systems to communicate with other devices. One application is to use wireless technology for Automated Meter Reading. Another application is to use wireless networks to update digital billboards so advertisers can display different messages based on time of day or day-of-week.
Sprint has teamed with a diverse portfolio of innovative partners to create smarter M2M wireless solutions. Last year, Sprint opened the Sprint M2M Collaboration Center in Burlingame, Calif., a hands-on, interactive lab. Sprint also introduced the Sprint Command Center, a web-based portal that allows businesses with Sprint wireless-connected products the ability to manage, activate and de-activate each device.
Grid Net, the smart grid software maker, has officially moved beyond the wireless standard WiMAX and announced that its software now supports LTE, the dominate next-gen wireless standard embraced by U.S. telcos. Grid Net in recent months has said that it is agnostic when it comes to connectivity, and will support anything from Ethernet to 3G cellular to ZigBee, but its first customers have largely been WiMAX providers. Grid Net was formed by a collaboration with GE Energy and Intel, that focused on WiMAX for their last mile connectivity.
AT&T’s SmartMetering solutions bring smart grid technology to the home. Their Advanced Mobility Solutions are said to deliver a complete package of smart meters, software and cellular connectivity, including:
- Wireless Connectivity, for two-way smart grid data communication between electric meters or routers and a utility’s office
- SmartSynch SmartMeter™, which monitors power usage and wirelessly communicates day-to-day energy data as well as outage information back to the utility company
- SmartSynch GridRouter™, which acts as a hub for smart grid data, allowing utilities to connect with any device over any network.
- Software that gives utilities the ability to automatically monitor millions of electric meters on a single, easy-to-use tool.
In 2009, President Barack Obama announced $3.4 billion in government grants to help build a “smart” electric grid and smart meters that will save consumers money on their utility bills, reduce blackouts and carry power supplies generated by solar and wind energy.
The grants (above), range from $400,000 to $200 million, and were awarded to 100 companies, utilities, manufacturers, cities and other partners in 49 states — every state except Alaska. Here’s a full listing by state (pdf) and catagory (pdf).
Dailywireless has more on Smart Meters, including Cisco Launches Smart Grid Consortium, Obama Announces $3.4B in Electric “Smart Grid” Grants , Alvarion Partners in Smart Grid Test, WiMAX SmartGrid Coming to 700K Australians, Zigbee Radio with 2 Mile Range, Google Power Meter , ABI: Stimulus Means Big Bucks for Wireless, The Smart Grid: Licensed or Unlicensed Spectrum, Cellular-enabled SCADA, Smart Grid: Dumb or What?, Smart Grid: It’s Alive!, Google: Smart Power R US, 900 Mhz Telemetry, Traffic Cameras and ITS and the Corpus Christi Cloud.