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One of the largest smart meter makers in the U.S., Itron (s ITRI), announced this morning that it plans to buy up French smart grid energy management and analytics company Asais. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. The deal shows how Itron continues to move beyond providing endpoints and hardware to selling end-to-end solutions, software and services.
Itron has already been working with Asais for the last four years, and Asais’ software manages smart grid data, helping utilities with accurate billing, remote monitoring, data management, as well as customer-facing web-based energy management system.
As we pointed out the other week, there’s gold in smart grid data — only about $356 million of it today, but potentially $4.2 billion of it by 2015, according to Pike Research. That’s the 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.
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 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). 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.
A host of IT giants are already involved in smart grid data analytics, including Accenture, Capgemini, HP (s HP), IBM (s IBM), Microsoft (s MSFT), Oracle, SAIC, SAP and Siemens (s SI) among them. Smaller, newer entrants include OPOWER, OSIsoft, Telvent, Ecologic Analytics and eMeter. Itron already provides a meter data management platform, so now add even more finely tailored analytics to the mix, as well as services.
With the deal, Itron will also have an energy management, customer service, portal to provide alongside its smart meters, which could be an attractive offer. Instead of using a web energy tool like Google’s (s GOOG) Power Meter, Microsoft’s (s MSFT) Hohm, or eMeter’s, utilities could turn to the massive hardware provider with a very long history in the utility industry.
As we’ve mentioned repeatedly, the smart grid is the best place to sell your startup out of all the greentech sectors. Earlier this week demand response provider EnerNOC (s ENOC) announced plans to acquire Global Energy Partners for $26.5 million — it was the company’s 9th acquisition over the past several years. Cisco (s CSCO), Grid Point, and Honeywell (s HON) have all bought startups over the years, too (see our list here).
For more research on demand response and the smart grid check out GigaOM Pro (subscription required):
- Smart algorithms, the future of the energy industry
- An Open Source Smart Grid Primer
- Demand Response as the Back Door Smart Grid?