GE's Scarecrow Superbowl ad is just the latest hype about the smart grid. But $3-5MM for the ad is just a drop in the bucket. Smart grid is a huge problem space and very technology intensive. On my unofficial scale of difficulty where global climate models are a 10, I rate smart grid a strong 7.
But what is smart grid? Resources at UCAIUG.ORG can provide a good foundation. Specifically, check out the business case work referenced by the AMI-SEC task force security requirements. I've extracted appendix B here for your convenience. IMHO, Distributed Energy Resource (DER) Management is a killer app all by itself.
Today, many asset owners and operators are in the early stages of AMI and smart grid rollout. The costs are enormous but so is the incentive (Metcalfe's Law is one way to think about the value aspect).
In the coming years, I expect solutions will take many forms and several will even use the PI System. Perhaps some of you are already working in the smart grid space. To be ready and successful, we need to collaborate to push the envelope on scalability. That means more performance and zero administration without sacrifice of security.
All of us have to be smarter if the grid is ever going to get a brain.