Verizon launching wireless services for smart utility grids

Verizon has publicly stated they plan to start using the LTE Category M1 network to provide essential services to utilities that are looking for improved smart grid solutions. The company made this announcement one year after its nationwide launch of the LTE Category M1.

LTE Category M1 is a lower power wireless technology that greatly reduces power demand. There’s no free lunch, and lower power usage also means lower data transmission, but being able to transmit at 400kbps is far and above what is needed for a vast majority of intended use cases in the industrial and commercial Internet of Things (IoT) devices.

Selling data services to various industries, outside of the home and business internet market, is a big area of expansion for Horizon Communications as we build out data networks in the Caribbean.

Verizon Grid-Wide Utility Solutions is a cloud based software platform that allows meter data management, smart metering, and alot more. The platform is currently being utilized by Hawaiian Electric Company to achieve its 100% renewable energy goal targeted to be met by 2045. It is worthy of note that Verizon also provides smart gas metering and intelligent water monitoring, which for homes without a direct water source, usually relying on rain water, is a big concern.

According to the Director of Product & new business innovation at Verizon, Jay Olearain, Hawaiian Electric collaborated with Verizon to utilize data collated from IoT smart sensors on solar power units that are roof-mounted to ascertain the organization’s energy grid levels, thereby helping users understand their specific level of electricity consumption. To be able to achieve this, the energy company required very close to real-time insight into specific details of what is happening. By using electric meter as a sensor, it was easy for the system to take measurements relating to energy usage and use the information to comprehensively understand what is going on.

Olearain went further to say that he believes that most utilities from now on will utilize Cat M1 instead of the LTE Category 4, which is best for tablets and Smartphones but not necessarily for IoT. Although the Cat M1 fully supports mobility, it is not required in this situation, where the solution is predetermined. There have been a lot of discussion on the role of IoT and how it works with 5G but the fact is that current generation LTE is more then enough for providing enough services for these devices.

According to Olearain, Verizon is seriously leveraging the expansion and the investment that has gone into the LTE Category M1 network based on specific reasons. For one, Cat MI allows Verizon to provide considerably more functionality than many older technologies, which allows users get more at a reduced cost. For another, the technology enables Verizon to be more price-competitive with other competing legacy technologies such as RF mesh that uses the unlicensed spectrum.

Verizon states that the Cat M1 Category is a game changer during the network launch in 2017. Prior to this period, many IoT companies like Ingenu, and Sigfox were making the best use of the window of opportunity to provide low power, lower-priced solutions while the cellular service providers choose the standard systems.

Verizon has also mentioned its plan to open a Narrowband IoT network (NB-IoT) sometimes this year. While the Cat M1 category is targeted at a wide range of applications for business customers like asset management, fleet management, and wearables, the NB-IoT Guard band will focus on applications that require data rates less than 100Kbps.

Gilbert A Darrell is the Founder of Horizon. He has 18 years experience in information technology and telecom solutions, a veteran in Fire and EMS Services, a crypto enthusiast and a member of the Bermuda Government’s Cryptocurrency Task Force.

Horizon Communications is an upcoming fixed wireless internet and cellular service provider looking to provide services in Bermuda, the Caribbean, and Central America before expanding internationally. While utilizing 4th generation and soon 5th generation wireless technology,it will also heavily incorporate blockchain and cryptocurrency technology.

More information can be found on their website —