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Silver Spring Networks Liberates Smart Meter Data

Smart meters haven’t lived up to their potential in making the grid more efficient. A software service to analyze meter data is one small step forward.

Smart meters throw off piles of information but only a small segment of utility employees have access to it. Software from smart grid company Silver Spring Networks is designed to spread it around.

Silver Spring Networks gets meter data out of the network operations center and into the hands of business analysts. Credit: Silver Spring Networks

The Redwood City, California-based company this week released SilverLink Cloud Services, a set of applications geared at business analysts or managers trying to get a better picture of how their grid operates. The data can be used to, for example, monitor how voltage fluctuates or to create reports to meet regulations, explained Anil Gadre, executive vice president of products.

Some utilities have invested millions of dollars in smart meter programs to automate meter reading closely and monitor power usage to better understand changes in load. Meters can also make it easier to spot outages and remotely connect or disconnect customers.

Beyond those operational efficiencies, there’s room to sift through that data to make business decisions, much the way corporations in other industries create data warehouses to analyze transactional data to understand consumer buying or financial trends. “(Utilities) are done in most cases with their core meter related deployment. Now they’re saying, what else can I do with it?” said Gadre, a former Sun Microsystems executive.

Silver Spring Networks makes the networking equipment for sending meter information back to utilities, one of many companies trying to marry information technology with the power sector. Utilities have a reputation for being relatively slow adopters of new technology, even enterprise software systems. By using data analysis offerings like these, utilities could run more efficiently and get more value from their smart meter investments

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