The Smart Grid: Reactions to Ten Trends to Watch

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Pike Research recently published its free (!) white paper Smart Grid: 10 Trends to Watch in 2011 and Beyond and have received some interesting feedback. Since most of this has been expressed privately, I thought I would aggregate comments on each trend and share it here.

No. 1 – Security Will Become the Top Smart Grid Concern. There was universal agreement here, with a few saying “uh-oh, I better learn more about this”. Awareness is growing, as are some potentially game-changing solutions for securing embedded computing and communications environments.

No. 2 – Distribution Automation Will Rival AMI as the Most Visible Smart Grid Application. Judging by the high interest in a recent webinar on this subject, the benefits of emerging distribution automation technologies is not a big secret. Stimulus-assisted demonstration projects, both in the U.S. and Europe, will provide some useful metrics.

No. 3 – The “Bakersfield Effect” Will Continue, but Some Consumers Will Actually LIKE the Smart Grid. I had no idea there were already so many Bakersfield jokes, thanks mostly to Johnny Carson. Already famous for Coccidioidomycosism (aka “Valley Fever”), Bakersfield is also home to “smart-meter-itis”. Sorry folks, I’m sure Bakersfield is a lovely place….

No. 4 – Smart Meter and AMI Focus Will Shift Toward Europe and China. A minor correction: I mentioned that ERDF in France is running three pilots, of 100K meters each, using different vendors. In fact, they’re running 2 pilots, one of 200K meters (Lyon) and one of 100K meters (Tours). Three suppliers, Iskaemeco, Itron, and Landis+Gyr, are each supplying ~100K meters, which are fully mixed throughout each pilot. I was also remiss in not mentioning the leading role of Atos Origin, the international consulting and system integration firm, in the development of this project. However, all this only reinforces my major point highlighting the uniqueness and importance of the successful multi-vendor interoperability demonstrated by this project.

No. 5 – The “Year of the HAN” Will Not Arrive … Yet. I expected some vendor pushback on this assertion, but instead have received what amounts to a collective sigh of resignation. Certainly there are many interesting pilots and deployments underway. Interestingly, many are decoupled from the smart meters that had been seen as essential. The opportunity remains, but will require patience.

No. 6 – The Demand Response Business Transformation Will Accelerate. No arguments here, and more vendors and utilities are excited by the transformation than nervous.

No. 7 – The ARRA Smart Grid “Stimulus” Will Finally Have a Positive Impact. I would have thought that any assertion that the stimulus has thus far been less than stimulating would generate an argument, especially during the height of the mid-term election season. Not so.

No. 8 – The Standards “Horse” Will Begin to Catch the Deployment “Cart”. This generated requests for prognostication on which technology will “win”. It is climbing out on a limb to say “IP”. We do forecast over a dozen different technologies in our Smart Grid Networking and Communications report, but it is up to the reader to judge whether there are “winners” and “losers”.

No. 9 – Data Management Will Be the Next Bottleneck to Smart Grid Benefits. More and more vendors are promising means to obtain useful information from the mountain of data coming from the smart grid. Perhaps we should be more optimistic re: a bottleneck. However, we failed to mention how growing privacy concerns could muddy the waters for the more interesting profiling applications.

No. 10 – Existing Data and Telecom Vendors Will Get Serious About the Smart Grid. Several of these vendors assure me they already are serious. I guess we will have to see how many utilities agree.

Article by Bob Gohn, appearing courtesy Matter Network.

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  • http://www.bottlesandmore.com Jim Reed

    Love the post… One point of contention, “I’m sure Bakersfield is a lovely place…” Don’t be so sure!