The Internet of Things (IoT) has already started to make a clear impact in the energy sector. From sensors to monitor the temperature in a room to complex applications that control the energy use in an entire building, IoT technology in the energy sector is cutting costs and creating more productive, connected buildings.
This type of technology is very much needed, as in the United States alone, 30% of the energy used in an average commercial building is wasted, according to Energy.gov. IoT is also one of the primary drivers behind creating innovative energy grids, which has potential benefits for consumers, cities, and energy companies.
Benefits of IoT Technology in the Energy Sector
IoT technology can give utility companies much more control over operations. Since its not possible to rebuild power grids, innovative technologies can help improve upon what already exists by upgrading power quality and security.
In individual buildings, sensors can cut energy use dramatically by simply monitoring the lighting and temperature when the building is not being used. Fire sensors that alert people to the nearest exit and also count the amount of people exiting at each location can improve safety in buildings as well.
Zero-Net Buildings (ZNE), also known as zero-energy buildings, are also a benefit of IoT. These are buildings in which the amount of energy used by the building and the amount of renewable energy created by the building is equal on an annual basis, and they are created using a combination of IoT, AI, solar, batteries, and LED light systems. These types of buildings lower electric bills and emissions and are starting to become popular on a global scale.
IoT technology can also improve the energy industry on a larger scale with “smart energy grids.” These grids, which make energy use more efficient and give customers real-time billing, have the potential to save billions and some energy companies have already started implementing them.
As part of the smart energy grid, those implementing smart energy meters are seeing improved productivity and high-cost savings. Florida Power and Light’s smart grid implementation resulted in $3.4 million in productivity savings and 99.98% service reliability. Financial benefits for companies that do install smart energy grids could reach up to $160 billion according to Business Insider.
The Right Platform is Needed
Some point to risks and the high implementation factor as reasons against IoT in the energy sector. To overcome this; however, the right platform is needed. A horizontal approach is required to achieve IoT mass adoption on a city scale. Horizontal device management for IoT offers end-to-end security, that not only makes it easier to roll out security updates to smart devices but also allows companies to provide or restrict access. A horizontal approach can also ensure scalability to grow with cities. This type of platform gives utilities companies the ability to meet current needs as well as future needs.