Landis+Gyr has been building the experience and products needed to cater to the Internet of Things for some time, which puts it in a strong position to realize the many new opportunities created by this rapidly accelerating phenomenon.
The advent of the Internet of Things (IoT) offers Landis+Gyr significant opportunities to add value to the energy industry and society as a whole. Not least, because IoT can be seen as an evolution of the machine-to-machine (M2M) applications which utilities already employ to manage complex distribution, reporting and management tasks. The smart metering industry was building interconnected networks and applications long before the term “IoT” was coined which is why, today, smart metering is a natural enabler of the Internet of Things.
Full implementation of IoT will take things to much higher quantitative and qualitative levels than M2M. This is because IoT involves massively increased numbers of intelligent, connected devices, which can exchange data both with each other and with a central server. The interconnection of all these smart devices unlocks their ability to collaborate with each other and human beings like never before. Potential benefits of implementing IoT solutions include improved asset management, reduction of supply chain risks, real-time decision-making, and reduced operating costs.
Full control in real time
A key opportunity IoT offers utilities is the delivery of profitable services using applications enabled by real-time data. Real-time data collection and analytics enabled by industrial Internet protocols, such as iPv6, facilitate simultaneous collaboration between many different companies as well as the integration of multiple services. In addition, seamless system management and service delivery are possible due to universal standards being applied across systems architecture, communication, privacy and security. As an example, by using IoT in smart grids, utilities will be able to mitigate fluctuations in renewable energy generation caused by changing weather conditions. Bill Lichtensteiger, Director Communications Technology at Landis+Gyr explains: “IoT is not a product, but more a driver and a framework for new product and solution development. It opens the gate into a new innovation playground.”
Landis+Gyr is already preparing energy management solutions and communications infrastructure for IoT, while many energy companies have embraced the IoT concept and started using the same established communication networks for different applications such as smart metering, smart grid and street lighting, or connecting a Landis+Gyr smart meter on an AMI network to a SCADA based distribution management system. In some cases, gas utilities can leverage electricity AMI networks for gas meter reading.
“We are at the beginning of a new future, to be delivered by a large number of standards organizations and industry alliances, developing IoT technology for the benefit of industry, consumers and society. Whilst it is perhaps too early to determine the financial benefits of IoT adoption, we are likely to see increased openness, greater cost efficiency and flexibility in the way utility customers do things and the entry of new companies providing new services,” Lichtensteiger says.
Building a smarter tomorrow
Many innovators in the utility field are already working on IoT applications for sustainable power distribution, more effective traffic systems and efficient, intelligent buildings. These factors work together to create what has become known as the “smart city”. Toshiba and Landis+Gyr are currently pioneering smart city technologies in the utility space. Toshiba seeks to create new value by connecting its energy, healthcare, storage products and services using cloud computing, big data and analytics technologies, to implement its vision of building a safe, secure and comfortable society – the “Human Smart Community” by Lifenology.
In the meantime, energy companies can start their journey towards IoT enabled, intelligent grids by implementing future-proof, end-to-end smart grid solutions, such as Landis+Gyr’s Gridstream®. Gridstream’s unique suite of proven solutions encompasses big data, infrastructure, command and control applications, and services. The suite brings intelligence to all levels of the utility space, from generation to distribution.
The sheer magnitude of the potential opportunities the IoT offers is perhaps best outlined in numbers. According to Juniper Research, around 13.4 billion devices are currently connected to the Internet and this is forecast to grow 2 to 5 times by 2020, while an International Data Corporation report states that, “The worldwide Internet of Things market will grow from $655.8 billion in 2014 to $1.7 trillion in 2020,” with McKinsey predicting it may grow as high as $11 trillion by 2025. Even if the latter estimate is out by a trillion or two there is undoubtedly cause for optimism.