There’s Gold In Smart Grid Data


There’s gold in smart grid data — only about $356 million of it today, but potentially $4.2 billion of it by 2015. That’s Pike Research’s bold prediction for the global market for smart grid data analytics, or software and services that can mine data and provide intelligence for smart grid vendors, utilities and consumers.

While utilities around the world will be dealing with a flood of smart grid data in the coming years, they will also need to mine that data to find ways to cut costs, improve customer adoption and better predict future power needs.

Applying the smart algorithms and applications of the Internet industry to the smart grid could unleash a host of new ways of doing business. On the customer end, behavioral data and market analysis could be applied to entice more people into energy efficiency programs, or help them choose which energy-efficient appliances to buy.

On the utility operations side, smart meters and distribution automation systems can be data-mined to optimize the flow of power or predict when equipment is about to fail. (For more, read our GigaOm Pro report, “Smart Algorithms: the Future of the Energy Industry,” subscription required).

A host of IT giants are already involved in smart grid data analytics, including Accenture, Capgemini, HP, IBM, Microsoft, Oracle, SAIC, SAP and Siemens among them. Smaller, newer entrants include OPOWER, OSIsoft, Telvent, Ecologic Analytics and eMeter. But with the market just getting defined, there’s plenty of room for innovative contenders, Pike’s report notes.

At the same time, utilities are increasingly turning to services, rather than just stand-alone software, for help. Those smart grid design and management services are also expected to boom, from $470 million today to $4.3 billion by mid-decade, Pike predicts, with many of the same players involved.

Utilities are also seeking help in upgrading customer relationship management to handle the shift from monthly power bills to daily or hourly interactions via smart meters. As for concerns over home energy data security and privacy, Pike predicts that smart grid IT players such as Cisco, IBM, Microsoft and Oracle will play an important role.

For more research on the smart grid check out GigaOM Pro (subscription required):

Image courtesy of Pacific Northwest National Laboratory via Creative Commons license.

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