By Simon Pontin from OnWindows.
In the IoT era, it has never been more important to take advantage of the power of decision making in real time. Intelligent network technology is key to the progression of simply being connected to actively doing.
In 2008, there were more ‘things’ connected to the internet than people. By 2020, the amount of things connected to the Internet will reach 50 billion, with $ 19 billion in profits and cost savings from the IoT over the next decade, according to Cisco Systems. Among these connected devices are smart meters, which are expected to reach an installation base of almost 800 million people worldwide by 2020.
Smart meters and smart grid technology play an integral role in the creation of the Internet of Things (IoT) in the public services sector. Today, these technologies are delivering tangible benefits to both utility companies and consumers; However, while networks and smart grid devices do a good job of moving data today, will it be enough to connect the devices to meet the needs of a modernized network tomorrow? With the growing demands of the network, including electric vehicles, renewable energy and distributed generation, we move away from a centralized generation and delivery model for a dynamic and distributed collection of ‘micro-networks’ that must be synchronized, monitored and maintained . in real time.
Beyond being intelligent, the network must be active, which means that it must also have the inherent capacity to respond in real time. Currently, measurement and grid systems collect large amounts of data and give it meaning in the company’s administrative office. The active grid uses the data to make changes in real time in the field. The active network harnesses the power of the IoT to improve efficiency and create value for public services and communities.
With this network approach, utilities can capitalize on the potential of these connected devices that have the computing capability not only to measure and communicate, but also to solve network problems in real time. Imagine that data analysis and decisions are made where it makes the most sense, at the edge of the network and not just at the utility office. Imagine the use of devices that dynamically detect situations of theft or overload of the transformer before it occurs, improving safety, reliability and, ultimately, profitability. This is the true edge intelligence.
The distribution of intelligence through the network of the intelligent network allows the electric companies to solve problems that previously could not be solved in a feasible way, which greatly increased the importance and the opportunity of the analytical applications of the intelligent network, as well as the use of network capacity. To achieve this potential, meters, grid sensors and other types of smart devices require a common set of technological attributes, namely: location knowledge; multilingual devices; and processing power in the field.
The ability of peripheral devices to know exactly where they are, process and analyze data independently and communicate with other types of devices creates many new possibilities to improve the accuracy, resolution and timeliness of analytical applications. In addition, a secure, reliable and cost-effective cloud infrastructure and computing platform, such as Microsoft Azure, helps utilities take better advantage of the value of data generated by their smart grid and smart distribution investments.
With these capabilities, there is a clear opportunity to deliver new commercial value in areas such as load control / localized demand response, asset monitoring and management, interruption detection and response, renewable energy integration and diversion detection. This approach allows companies to put intelligence where it makes the most sense, whether in the field area network, in the edge device itself or at the enterprise level, which means that analyzes no longer always take place in the office where tomorrow or next week is not good enough anymore.
In addition, public services need a reliable, cost-effective and flexible communication network to help ensure the fastest and most reliable communication path for each message based on the location, network operating conditions and the nature of the application or the data. This is best achieved using standard protocols, such as IPv6, which make it possible to take advantage of existing investments and boost the momentum of the industry. For example, Itron and Cisco have taken a leadership role in combining these capabilities and IPv6 standards to create, in essence, an extension of the functionality that we all expect from the IoT.
Many companies around the world are in a good position to take advantage of these recent and significant advances in network architecture, cutting-edge intelligence and analytics as they implement their network modernization strategies and connect to broader opportunities beyond efficiency. operative for smart cities and IoT. There is no doubt that the convergence of information technology and operational technology in the global public services industry will continue and accelerate, and that technological progress will continue to surpass the life cycle paradigm of assets that for so long They have operated. However, thresholds are reached that justify a change in thinking about how to approach and solve problems. For tomorrow’s grid, the moment is now.