Study predicts future utility telecommunications upgrades will be strong

January 3, 2011 Ellicott City, Md. -  Newton-Evans Research Co., Inc. announced completion of a three-volume report series focusing on data communications in the electric power industry. Survey findings from over 100 electric utilities worldwide indicate:
  •          Most utility respondents, 88 percent, agree that open protocols provide a degree of protection from premature obsolescence of products, but 58 percent of indicated they have experienced products that are supposedly standardized/open/interoperable which have not functioned as expected or promised by the vendor.
  •          Only 11percent of respondents think that synchrophasor technology will be a main driver in smart grid communications requirements, and 10 percent believe that synchrophasors will be the catalyst to adopt IEC standard 61850. Forty eight percent said they were neutral regarding either statement.
  •          When asked: "What are some of the key data communications issues facing your utility?" responses ranged from cost to reliability to security" (the three most frequently mentioned) to other issues like technology obsolescence, bandwidth, interoperability, lack of standardization, spectrum availability, NERC CIP compliance, latency, terrain-topography and scalability.
A follow up question was: "What do vendors need to do to address these issues?” The most frequent sentiment could be paraphrased as, "Be more attentive to utility requirements, communicate more and work together." This was followed by comments mentioning standardization. It is clear from this feedback that utilities expect increased cooperation from their communications equipment suppliers and services providers than they might have experienced to date. On the other hand, if vendors need to adapt their solutions and tailor their products and services to fit the situational needs of varying utility profiles, then they have their work cut out for them. Collaborative research and development may provide a feasible compromise solution.
Volume No. 1 of the three volume study includes detailed survey findings on grid operational telecommunications usage patterns and plans from over 100 electric utilities in 24 countries.
Volume No. 2 contains profiles for 22 of the leading communications solutions providers and includes more than 30 smart grid communications-centric project summaries from around the world. Volume No. 3 provides an in-depth assessment and outlook for the smart grid telecommunications market and summary of key market influences.
Additional information on the three volume study "Global Study of Data Communications Usage Patterns and Plans in the Electric Power Industry: 2011-2015" is available from Newton-Evans Research Co., 10176 Baltimore National Pike, Suite 204, Ellicott City, Md 21042or visit to access the report brochure.

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