As InfoWeek recently wrote about the “Smart Grid” – http://www.informationweek.com/news/government/stimulus/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=215901346&subSection=All+Stories – we can see that there are $11Bn allocated to the upgrading of our national electrical grid. This “upgrade” will simply be what most Router or System administrators have done for years; centrally manage the entire system and collect as much data as possible for analysis.
It would seem that this would have been done long ago, however, the entrenched systems are always hardest to replace or upgrade – no matter what (think QWERTY keyboard). And it took IT mentalities about remote, lights-out management to begin to shift the old into the new. Witness CISCO, HP & IBM all spearheading initiatives into smart grid, smart water, heck, smart traffic…first off is to enable the system to report on itself, then aggregate the data, analyze and upgrade.
Two things are take-aways: 1) Lots of Fed, State, local $$ for enabling “smart infrastructure” and 2) the datacenter operators (see: datacenterpulse.com) will be at forefront of this effort.