"Smart grid" generally refers to a class of technology people are using to bring utility water/electricity delivery systems into the 21st century, using computer-based remote control and automation. These systems are made possible by two-way communication technology and computer processing that has been used for decades in other industries. They offer many benefits to utilities and consumers -- mostly seen in big improvements in water/energy efficiency.
For a century, utility companies have had to send workers out to gather much of the data needed to provide the bills. The workers read meters and look for broken equipment. Most of the devices utilities use to deliver water or electricity have yet to be automated and computerized. Now, many options and products are being made available to the water/electricity industry to modernize it.
The "grid" amounts to the networks that carry water/electricity/gas from the plants where it is generated to consumers. The grid includes wires, substations, transformers, switches and much more.
Much in the way that a "smart" phone these days means a phone with a computer in it, smart grid means "computerizing" the water/electric/gas utility grid. It includes adding two-way digital communication technology to devices associated with the grid. Each device on the network can be given sensors to gather data, plus two-way digital communication between the device in the field and the utility's network operations center. A key feature of the smart grid is automation technology that lets the utility adjust and control each individual device or millions of devices from a central location.(see Smart Grid NMS)
A smart meter is usually an electronic device that records consumption of water/electric energy/gas in intervals of an hour or less and communicates that information at least daily back to the utility for monitoring and billing purposes. Smart meters enable two-way communication between the meter and the central system. Unlike home energy monitors, smart meters can gather data for remote reporting. Such an advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) differs from traditional automatic meter reading (AMR) in that it enables two-way communications with the meter.
Cicicom's Smart Metering Solution allows utilities to accurately collect billing data and vital health statistics from water/electric/gas grid with over 99% field proven reliability.
In smart metering projects, the biggest risk is the future. Market requirements, regulatory mandates, and technology will all change over the lifecycle of the smart metering investment. Our Smart Metering Solution is a "no regrets" decision. As an open, multi-application platform, can seamlessly interoperate with the IT infrastructure and grid devices that already have been deployed in the field or data center today and easily expand by adding new software or devices in the future.
See also Smart Grid Network Management System