Wireless carriers and utility companies are sitting on a goldmine. Smart meters, which track and transmit residential and business electrical use wirelessly, will generate billions within a few years.
European operators plan to expand revenues further by rolling out cloud computing, networking and other services for the auto, energy, health and media industries.
In the U.S. the FCC and commercial interests are studying “smart grids” to better control energy usage and deliver faster broadband services.
Deutsche Telekom, the German telecommunications giant, recently announced its entry into smart meters. According to the Wall Street Journal, this market alone will grow from $219 million to $2.15 billion within Europe by 2015, helping European operators replace revenues lost to competitors.
Meanwhile, the company has partnered with other firms to install mobile applications for cars–everything from voice-controlled email and entertainment to remote control of sun roofs.
France Telecom has already moved into cloud computing and other communication services, while Telefonica SA in Spain has targeted telemedicine and mobile banking for financial service companies.
Smart Grid Broadband Services
Back in the U.S.A, Google is promoting its PowerMeter, using the smart grid, to provide real time energy and price information directly to personal computer users. This requires an always-on broadband connection, which the FCC is pushing as part of the National Recovery Act. In Chattanooga, Tennessee, over 100,000 residents will soon have access to one gigabyte broadband services.
Smart Grid technology is the driving force behind smart meters and new broadband services. Once the grid is installed to a building’s electrical system, broadband connections offering download speeds of 500Mbps on home area networks and LANS are enabled, delivering IP-based streaming multimedia over the Internet. This directly challenges current Internet and multimedia providers (land-based ISP’s, cable and satellite companies).
Utility companies, which are traditionally conservative, are now in the hot seat. The Federal government continues funding green technology development. Consumers want faster broadband services. Content producers seek higher quality Internet performance. IP-telephony companies are competing in home information and entertainment delivery. Meanwhile, cable, satellite and telephone companies are concerned about lost revenues.
For further information, check out this video and article about smart grids and broadband.