The move to smart grids is resulting in an enormous volume of data flowing into utilities, expected to grow by several orders of magnitude over time. According to a report from Pike Research, as a result, spending on smart grid data analytics will reach a total of more than $34bn by 2020.
Utilities must address the challenges of collecting, storing the data as well as analysing and acting on the information in order to realise the real returns on their smart grid investments. As Pike research director Carol Stimmel put it, “Smart grids cannot be considered smart without the actionable intelligence to correct deficiencies and introduce efficiencies throughout the power delivery system, from transmission, substation and distribution systems, to the customer side of the meter.”
According to the Smart Grid Data Analytics report, the bulk of the spending will occur in Asia Pacific, where annual investment will surpass $2.5bn by 2020, driven by China’s aggressive deployment of smart meters and its related infrastructure.
Review: Smart grids are one of the reasons that ‘Big Data’ is such a hot topic in the IT industry at the moment. Big data reflects the fact that the use of technology makes it possible to capture huge amounts of data, more than can be easily handled or interpreted. In the case of smart grids, it includes usage and other data from, potentially, millions of customers collected every quarter of an hour. You can see the problem and why analytics tools will be increasingly used and, no doubt, become more sophisticated over time.
What’s also interesting in the findings of this report is that China is so prominent. From the figures above, as much as a quarter of the market could be in China alone. It makes the country a huge target for suppliers.