IEEE concludes inaugural SmartGridComm event

Oct. 19, 2010
450 scientists, professionals and scholars from North America, Asia and Europe attended over 100 presentations designed to revolutionize worldwide electricity use.

NEW YORK, NY -- The 1st IEEE International Conference on Smart Grid communications (SmartGridComm) recently concluded its inaugural event with 450 scientists, international professionals and scholars gathering to discuss the development and upgrade of global smart grid communications ranging from remote metering and improved cyber-security to enhanced consumer data services and the on-road recharging of electrical vehicles.

IEEE initiates global conference on Smart Grid communications
International energy experts to convene at first IEEE Smart Grid conference

Held at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in Gaithersburg, Maryland from 4 – 6 October, SmartGridComm 2010 was specifically designed to facilitate the production, delivery and use of electricity worldwide. This includes successfully integrating existing technologies with the latest advances in a global effort to “increase energy independence, reduce energy pollution and provide consumers with revolutionary ways to effectively manage and control their energy use.”

Led by Conference General Co-Chairs Dr. George Arnold of NIST and Dr. Stefano Galli of Panasonic, SmartGridComm 2010 included the presentation of more than 100 keynotes, panel discussions and technical papers from global energy experts representing North America, Asia and Europe.

According to a press release, among these dignitaries was Aneesh Chopra, the Chief Technology Officer of the United States and Assistant to the President, who addressed the forum about the nation’s energy agenda and its mandate to “improve people’s lives today.”

After discussing the current administration’s efforts to “double the amount of spectrum available for high-value uses,” he then challenged industry and entrepreneurs “to try, design, fail and start again” in the attempt to develop “frugal engineering” that “achieves large-scale, enterprise-class services” and results-driven, frictionless eco-systems driven by robust connectivity.

Phoebe Yang, the Senior Advisor to the Chairman on Broadband at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), then opened the second day of the conference with her presentation on “The National Broadband Plan: Driving Innovation and Investment in the Green Energy Economy.”

Throughout her talk, Ms. Yang reiterated the commission’s goal to improve the nation’s broadband ecosystem, create smart homes and spur new markets for consumer devices through the optimization of TV white spaces as well as enhanced spectrum availability. These remarks included the desire to develop “super Wi-Fi networks” that effectively and securely facilitate grid automation services and consumer access to “enhanced billing, pricing and usage information through smart meters.”

Following Ms. Yang’s address, Emmanuel Darmois, Vice President of Corporate Standards at Alcatel-Lucent, began his presentation by referring to the smart grid as a “transformational journey” that is “not about selling boxes and equipment,” but rather “the creation of enhanced levels of intimacy between utilities and customers.”

Dr. Darmois reinforced the event's ongoing imperative that the smart grid should be encapsulated in a vision of a “powerful, connected network” consisting of millions of sensors that reach the most outlying of areas and “extend right into the user’s home.”

Further elaborating on the needs of users, Patricia Hoffman, Assistant Secretary for the United States Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability, discussed the overall necessity of “keeping the lights on for American people,” while developing a flexible, layered network that ensures reliability, sustainability, shared data and the creation of a clean and affordable energy economy for all consumers.

Jeffrey Taft, Distinguished Engineer and Smart Grid Chief Architect for the Smart Grid Business Unit at Cisco, continued that theme by referencing the multi-faceted communications nature of the smart grid and speaking extensively about the need to develop technologies that offer “deep situational awareness” and “self-healing capabilities” in order to provide “faster and finer control” for users worldwide.

Afterwards, Hironori Nakanishi, Director of Technical Regulations, Standards and Conformity Assessment Policy Division, Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) in Japan, discussed “Japan’s Roadmap to International Standardization for Smart Grid.”

During this presentation, Mr. Nakanashi spoke at-length about Japan’s own initiative , which includes expanding the scope of their country’s smart grid infrastructure and reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent by the year 2020. This includes the production of smarter user communities that are interconnected and embrace the broad introduction of renewable energy sources.

Also highlighting the conference’s agenda was the presentation of several high-level panel discussions dedicated to modernizing global electrical grids with cost-effective and interoperable technologies.
Moderated by George Arnold, the “International Standards Coordination” session focused on global interconnectivity issues and the building of networks that are “more valuable than any individual application.” Among the revelations was the need to develop pre-standards that would supply the foundation for time-synchronized communications in a world where “energy is a basic human right.”

This panel was then followed on the next day by a discussion of the “Smart Grid of the Future.” Throughout the session, panelists highlighted the importance of developing a universal smart grid founded on an infrastructure of evolving applications, robustness, control and long-term needs. Essential to this process, most agreed, is a regulatory environment that is unfettered by short-term goals or immediate profits and based on a “risk-based approach” that can respond to “unanticipated emerging behaviors” as “billions of transactions interact on the system every second of every day.”

The three-day event then concluded on Wednesday, October 6 with the last of three days of technical sessions organized into 12 separate symposia, each designed specifically to address a particular aspect of smart grid communications.

Among the specific topics discussed were “New Concepts for a Smarter Power Grid,” “Distributed Generation and Renewables,” “Advanced Metering,” “Smart Grid Networking,” “Service, Computation and Smart Grid Network Integration,” “Standards and Regulations,” and “Secure Communications and Privacy.”

For more information on IEEE SmartGridComm 2010 visit

The keynote of Vinton Cerf of Google as well as the presentation slides of many of the conference’s leading speakers and panelists can also be viewed at:

Planning is already underway for IEEE SmartGridComm 2011, which will be held in Brussels, Belgium from 17 – 19 October 2011. Researchers, academics, engineers and business professionals are urged to visit for call for paper details and then submit technical papers to conference planners by 14 April 2011.

For further information on IEEE SmartGridComm 2011 including registration details, visit or contact Heather Ann Sweeney of the IEEE Communications Society at 212-705-8938 or [email protected].

IEEE SmartGridComm is hosted by the IEEE Communications (IEEE ComSoc) Society, which has over 40,000 members and is the second largest of IEEE’s 38 technical societies.

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