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Seeing the Opportunity for IP Communications Within the Smart Grid Space

Jon Arnold

Having followed IP communications as an analyst since 2001, I've seen a few cycles come and go, and Smart Grid reminds me a lot of VoIP. Telcos and utilities both operate large, complex and costly networks, and prior to 1984, both were heavily regulated. Following the deregulation of telecom came a wave of unprecedented innovation and disruption built largely around IP technologies.

We all know what that's done for telcos — and communications in general. I see similarities with utilities, and there are many lessons to be learned from the telecom experience. While utilities still remain highly regulated, many of the communications advances in both telecom and the Internet can help shorten their learning curve.

The worlds of telecoms and utilities are different but also similar, and for both reasons, I see what many others are seeing in the Smart Grid space. Much of this focus is within the utility and energy management space, and that work needs to be done. However, there is another opportunity outside this world, and this is where I see an important intersection among utilities, telcos and IT players.

The Smart Grid is really one side of the equation, and as we learned from VoIP and the Internet, there is a whole new world of communications opportunities that play to the other side of the equation — the Smart Home. There's enough here to convince me that the time is right to look at bringing these worlds together, and that's what I've done with my new venture.

There are two items of note here, and I hope one or both of these will engage some of you in this brave new world where energy and the smart home meets telecom and IT: Smart Grid Summit and our home base, the Smart Grid website in partnership with TMC.

By Jon Arnold, Principal, J Arnold & Associates Jon is also co-founder of Intelligent Communications Partners that focuses on the smart grid space. Visit Page
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