February 04, 2010, 8:41 PM — Verizon Business has signed a deal to provide IT services for the CURRENT Group's brand of smart grid sensors and software.
Taken as a whole, the CURRENT Group will provide utility companies with smart grid sensors and software while Verizon will provide 3G wireless connectivity to the sensors while also managing network security for the grids. The companies say that smart grid technology is aimed at helping utility companies optimize their electrical grid performance by giving them more accurate and up-to-date data on electricity demand and capacity in a given area.
Smart grid technology is typically defined as any information technology that helps power companies more efficiently monitor power demand and allocate capacity. An article published by ComputerWorld Australia last year said that while power grids are designed more like "hub and spoke" models, smart grids are designed "more like a geodesic dome, with power generation and control distributed across its various nodes."
The Verizon deal with CURRENT is very similar to the deal that AT&T signed last year with energy technology vendor Cooper Power Systems to jointly sell and market sensor devices that will be activated on smart grid power networks.
The United States has allocated $4.5 billion for smart grid energy programs as part of the economic stimulus package passed last year. Since then, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers has kicked off a project to create interoperability standards for smart grid technologies that will help power systems work with end-use applications and devices. The U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology is also working in collaboration with the Electric Power Research Institute to develop standards and architecture for any smart grid built in the United States in the future.