The world’s population is growing. It’s also becoming more urban. By 2050, the United Nations predicts there will be 9.7 billion people of which 66 percent will live in the world’s cities. With 2.5 billion more people coming into the world’s cities, federal and municipal governments are looking for smart city solutions to support such exponential population growth.
The smart grid is one such solution. With a market forecast to surpass $400 billion by 2020, the smart grid is the counterpoint to today’s overstressed, aging power grids. They will also enable utility companies and municipalities to achieve tighter energy efficiency regulations and standards.
As municipalities select smart grid solutions, they need to look for technology that will help them respond to today’s challenges while providing answers to tomorrow’s challenges. As they do so, they should keep the following considerations in mind.
A flexible platform
The move to a smart grid will take time. The implementation of new internal systems and processes, the deployment of new software and the addition of connected devices do not happen at the switch of a button. Instead, it happens at intervals, integrating smart technologies within the existing ecosystem.
To support this phased approach, municipalities need a flexible IoT platform that makes it easy to integrate new data sources and new services as they become available in the market. Flexibility is also needed to support the different latency requirements of the devices and applications connecting to the platform.
Scalability is essential
Machine-to-machine communications continues to advance, which means the smart grid and the technologies connecting to it will also evolve. Add to this the population boom coming to cities and the need for a scalable platform that can grow to meet the needs of tomorrow is essential.
Secure and simple management
The smart grid and its many devices, applications and systems will create complex architectures that will continue to expand and evolve over time. This requires increased visibility and control across devices and service delivery so it is simpler to onboard, activate and manage them.
Reliable two-way connection
Seamless two-way connectivity is vital to keep the smart grid system up and running. It also goes a long way in ensuring an efficient and reliable system for utility companies and its customers.
The smart grid needs a network that is powerful enough to connecting millions of endpoints that can collect and transmit data in real-time both ways. This will allow utility companies to detect power-loss issues or trouble with in-home device that can be addressed with over-the-air updates, or when necessary, a technician to make a visit.
The management of a complex ecosystem of connected devices can be made efficient through a consolidated approach and automated solutions. The benefits of such automation will reduce operating costs. In addition, it will help utility companies increase their customer service and bring new services and devices to market sooner.