Calamp Session Abstract

November 06, 2011

Cloud Computing and the Smart Grid

CalAmp Session Abstract

“The Network Is the Computer”

Those of you who have been immersed in the computing technology space will almost certainly recognize this slogan, coined by John Gage of Sun Microsystems, circa 1984. Sun had just developed the Network File System (NFS), a Unix-based precursor to what are now the widespread capabilities of computers to dynamically and instantly network themselves together to share files, resources, and even processor cycle time. The rise of computer networking almost immediately give commensurate rise to experimentations in Client/Server computing architectures, which permitted computing intelligence and data storage to be remotely located from the human interface devices that used them, thus offering increased flexibility, better economies of scale, and improved security.

Welcome To The Cloud

Client/Server computing came and went as an important computing paradigm as the cost and capabilities of edge devices followed Moore’s Law; it became increasingly unnecessary as desktop computational power approached supercomputer capabilities at a micro-fraction of the cost. Today, however, the Client/Server model is back in the form of cloud computing; advances in miniaturization, mobility, and wireless networking have invited a new, refined Client/Server model for anywhere/anytime access to digitized information and control of networked resources. Today, the network is no longer the computer; instead, the cloud is the server, the wireless network is the information superhighway, and the supercomputer fits in the palm of your hand.

Smart Grid Applications

Smart Grid applications are a natural fit for cloud computing. Robust wireless remote control of SCADA systems has been possible for many years as part of the evolving industrial infrastructure of the grid, but today, advances in the Smart Grid itself—coupled with modern cloud computing technologies—are making industrial-scale monitoring and control a reality for utility consumers as well. Soon, every homeowner will have access to handheld mobile control of home automation systems, which will become ever smaller, less expensive, and less inherently complex as the cloud takes on more of the computational load for control, monitoring, and notification. Appliances and grid attachment points will gain network intelligence to support automated control systems. And highly-scalable consumer energy management applications will proliferate across the grid, providing efficient load balancing and cost savings options for consumers and service providers alike.

Security

Decentralized command and control of the smart grid will accelerate the need for extremely robust security measures to cope with the enhanced flexibility and ease of access to Smart Grid applications that are represented by the emerging capabilities of the cloud. There are likely to be important situations in which private networks remain the preferable option, as is often the case today. The ability to select either option, and to move between them, will be critical for certain kinds of applications, and for service providers servicing clients with special needs.

Join Us

Join CalAmp for an in-depth discussion of the emerging cloud computing paradigm, and it’s implications for the rapidly-evolving Smart Grid. We’ll discuss emergent applications in both public and private industrial wireless networks, as well as the consumer-grade home automation capabilities that will arise and flourish as a result.

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