Till now, we have seen telcos taking part in Smart Grid infrastructure as dormant stake-holders. They are offering to manage thermostats of appliances, as broadband service providers. They are offering cloud-based solutions for energy management, as IT service providers. Telcos have the potential to improve realization of Smart Grid potential as active stake-holders.
For Outage management, Telcos can provide dedicated, high-priority network to utilities. In a post-outage scenario, even telecom networks can be impacted. The traffic for voice and data can increase many-fold as users will want to know the condition of friends and relatives. Broadband is most likely to be used on telecom networks, as mobile phones are more reliable than laptops or PCs, This can impact the communications required for outage management. If Telcos launch dedicated offering for utilities, they can support communication required for crews rushing to field, and data collection from smart meters. As many eastern cities are forming regulations for sharing information on outage with customers, in the aftermath of Sandy, the network availability can be troublesome. Mass SMSs can be sent to all users, or they can be customized for different areas. In India, banks and financial services providers are doing a tremendous job of informing users about transactions with SMSs.
Telcos can use Telematics technology to gather information about battery status in electric vehicles. This information can help utilities and charging networks to suggest suitable time and location for charging.
Sometimes, telecom network is not avaiiable in areas, of low population density, Telcos can ensure availability of communication networks along the power line network consistently. Utilities may agree to pay a fee for getting reliable network availability along the power lines. This can be of huge help to field technicians.
Similarly, generation facilities spread of large areas can get specialized support from telcos for ensuring proper network availability.
Overall, telcos can help to realize the benefits of smart grid to utilities by focusing on their core competency of voice and data communication, and managing networks.