Because solar installations can operate anywhere there is cellular service available, AT&T is a perfect technology provider for the wireless connectivity needs of solar companies.
Mike Zeto | AT&T Smart Cities
Can you explain what “Internet of Things (IoT) connectivity” is and how AT&T provides that service?
IoT is one of the fastest-growing technology trends, where all types of devices and machines are connected and “talk” to one another. AT&T connects more than 23 million connected devices (as of 2Q15). AT&T provides the wireless network connections between the devices, and that is what the “connectivity” is referring to in this instance. We’ve certified more than 2,200 types of connected devices to run on our network, and that number is growing.
What’s the connection AT&T is making between IoT and solar energy?
At AT&T, we use the power of our network to build a better tomorrow. Our network is helping build what we call a “Connected World,” – a smart world that optimizes how we use valuable resources, like energy, while reducing costs and improving quality of life. AT&T’s wireless network can connect to solar energy meters and management devices to improve their operations. It was a no-brainer that our IoT technology can greatly benefit this industry.
What interested AT&T in getting involved in the solar energy industry?
We believe that the ability to increase resource efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions will be a primary determinant of success in the 21st century world economy. Technology plays a critical role in empowering the transition to the low-carbon economy, better managing resource use and increasing business resiliency. Because solar installations can operate anywhere there is cellular service available, AT&T is a perfect technology provider for the wireless connectivity needs of solar companies.
Are there other ways AT&T is leveraging IoT to reduce energy use?
AT&T recently launched AT&T Smart Grid PrePay Energy, which allows utility customers to pay in advance for electricity and manage usage through mobile applications. It’s a cloud-based solution that allows customers to pay as they desire, either pre-pay or post-pay. With the online monitoring tools that come with this solution, users can monitor and control their energy usage, resulting in reduced bills. The typical PrePay energy user saves 11% more energy, according to Distributed Energy Financial Group (DEFG). PrePay is also beneficial to utilities, since it reduces billing and customer care costs with a single, flexible payment suite. In addition, AT&T’s wireless network is used in a variety of “Smart Grid” applications, helping utility companies monitor their meters and their distribution facilities.
How does IoT connectivity improve Enphase’s solar management technology?
AT&T’s fast and reliable cellular network allows solar energy companies like Enphase to better manage their deployed solar panels. For example, users will no longer need to rely on an internet connection at the site, which can get disconnected when a password changes, the internet provider changes, or even if a cable gets unplugged. With the newly added network connectivity, customers can seamlessly monitor system performance from any PC, tablet or smartphone.
How does IoT technology benefit Enphase? How does it benefit their customers?
Enphase will use AT&T’s fast and reliable wireless network with Enphase’s next generation Envoy-S with Mobile Connect™ to strengthen reliability and to enhance speed to communicate with each Enphase solar panel system. The network connectivity will support full revenue grade metering of solar production, metering of home consumption and storage management. Enphase’s customers will no longer need to rely on an internet connection at the site, which can get disconnected when a password changes, the internet provider changes, or even if a cable gets unplugged. With the newly added network connectivity, customers can seamlessly monitor system performance from any PC, tablet or smartphone.
Do you have some examples of what this will look like and how homeowners will interact with it?
AT&T is just providing the wireless connections to Enphase, so Enphase is better able to explain how its customers will experience the new capabilities that AT&T’s wireless network makes available. Enphase’s recent blog post here gives some details about that.
How will it benefit installers?
AT&T is just providing the wireless connections to Enphase, so Enphase is better able to explain how the new capabilities that AT&T’s wireless network makes available will affect installers. The benefits to installers are also discussed in Enphase’s recent blog post here.
About Mike Zeto, General Manager of Smart Cities, AT&T IoT Solutions
Mike Zeto is the General Manager of Smart Cities, a dedicated organization within AT&T Internet of Things (IoT) Solutions. His responsibilities include the development, management and go-to-market strategy for IoT solutions for smart cities. He was appointed to this position in August 2015.
Mike Zeto is responsible for managing one of the fastest growing and largest opportunities in IoT - Smart Cities. Mike leads a team that develops and manages solutions that can help cities preserve resources and serve their community in a more sustainable way. Through connected solutions like utility meters, street lights, and water systems, cities can operate more effiently and with better data insights.
The content & opinions in this article are the author’s and do not necessarily represent the views of AltEnergyMag
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