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The new IEC61850 substation communication standard is almost two years old. Worldwide, there are already over one hundred substations that have been commissioned and running with this new standard. Several projects in North America have been implemented with IEC61850 by using products from a single manufacturer. This paper will report on the status of a 500KV project, which is the first multi-vendor project in the United States to use this new standard. The goal of the project is to utilize the new IEC61850 standard to its fullest (as practically possible) therefore confirming that the standard is much more than just a communication protocol. Interoperability, one of the major advantages of IEC61850, will be demonstrated. The focus of the paper is not to describe or explain the theoretical background of the standard itself but rather to show and demonstrate the practical use of an actual multi-vendor project and how the standard applies to protection engineers. In addition, the paper will describe to the relay engineers that an IEC61850 based system must be considered an integral part of the protection and control system and not just another protocol integration for substation data/automation.