The global smart energy market will see seven vendors rising up above the rest, to capitalize on the new era of clean energy production with an added layer of digitization as the Industrial Internet of Things. The seven leading vendors were determined by a study done by Technavio, which considered energy companies that provided services in "smart-grid, HEMS, digital oil fields" and leading solar technologies, all in the name of clean and smart energy production. The efficiency of these power companies was also considered. Technavio estimates that these seven vendors will lead the market from 2016 to 2020. Thus, we begin our series titled Global Smart Energy 2016 to 2020 and catch up with these seven energy companies to see the work they are doing in energy sectors and to see what qualifies them as the top vendors for global smart energy.
Itron is a company that will play a big part in Internet of Things connected smart grids in the near future. The company provides end-to-end smart grid and smart distribution solutions for electric, natural gas and water applications. The company says that in the current global energy market, more needs to be done than just securing a smart-grid. They believe that with the oncoming interconnectedness from the Internet of Things will ensure that a new smart distribution system can be created.
They are coining a new term pertaining to global smart energy. They're calling it the 'Active Grid'. This grid layout will combine the smart grid and smart distribution solutions in one well-oiled machine. The company explains that clean renewable energy, safe gas delivery, and efficient water distribution working in tandem with each other and with the digital connection of the Internet of Things will help the company provide efficiency and reduce waste. The company says through combining these solutions, the smart-cities and the smart utilities of the future can be born.
"Smart grids are no longer enough. While they collect and move more data than ever, in today's fast-paced world, more data doesn't mean better outcomes. We need a grid and distribution networks that are more than smart. With the right technology and analysis, applied in the right places, we can create something beyond the smart-grid. We can create the Active Grid," Itron said in a promotional video.
Itron outlines a simple three-point plan for their proposal of the Active Grid:
- A network fueled by an open, standards-based and the interactive network that uses intelligent technology. This would relate to Industrial Internet of Things connected technologies.
- Automation with devices, sensors, routers, and applications will make real-time analysis and the making of decisions far easier. No unnecessary data will apply.
- Machine to machine learning and problem-solving that makes sense. However, the active grid will have human intervention where necessary.
The company says an active grid connected to the Internet of Things and connecting distribution systems to an eco-system of interconnectivity will mean that problems and outages will be detected 50 percent faster. Smart metering, smart cities, connected by a smart distribution system is Itron's aim for a future with cleaner energy, cleaner water and an efficiently run country.