The Smart Grid plan is going to require the participation of a lot of different constituencies. Big money will be spent, and makers of Wi-Fi equipment are already angling for their share of the proceeds. The Wi-Fi Alliance has created a task group to address energy management uses, and it has also issued a report on how Wi-Fi fits into the Smart Grid universe.
The new "Wi-Fi for the Smart Grid" report details the use of Wi-Fi for Smart Grid applications in home, neighborhood and wide area networks.
The Wi-Fi industry’s certification programs are already supporting evolving Smart Grid requirements, the Wi-Fi Alliance said.
The Wi-Fi Alliance is a participating member of the National Institute of Standards and Technology's Smart Grid Interoperability Panel (SGIP). SGIP is a forum for stakeholders to participate in the ongoing coordination, acceleration and harmonization of standards development for the Smart Grid. The SGIP reviews use cases, identifies requirements, coordinates and accelerates Smart Grid testing and certification, and proposes action plans for achieving these goals.
"There is no question that Wi-Fi is going to play a large role in smart energy management solutions," said Craig Mathias, a principal with the mobile and wireless advisory firm Farpoint Group. "The technology is well established in millions of home networks around the world, and the industry continues to innovate on both low-power and large-network solutions that will dramatically expand its importance in a wide variety of Smart Grid applications."
Cable networks will be a critical element of the Smart Grid, and the initial specifications for cable participation in the envisioned Smart Grid of the future have been accepted by the National Institute of Standards and Technology.
NIST’s draft report on Smart Grid technology said the organization has identified nearly 80 standards that can be used right now to support Smart Grid development. Among them are CableLabs’ PacketCable specifications for home security, energy management and home automation (SMA). The CableLabs document referenced by NIST is available here.