Internet of Things grows in utility sector 1 AUGUST 2016

Of responding companies in a recent Vodafone report, 28% are using Internet of Things (IoT) in their operations, and 76% say the IoT will be critical to their success.

In Taiwan, the Ministry of Transportation and Communications and the National Communications Commission (NCC) are considering a request, filed by the Taiwan Power Company (TPW), for a dedicated bandwidth allocation. This is an expansion on the current Internet of Things allocation in Taiwan.

In April this year, the NCC released more spectrum for Internet of Things devices. However, TCP has submitted proposals that the current common use band of 2.4GHz will be subject to noise from WiFi and Bluetooth equipment and interfere with transmissions from smart meters. Thus, the 865MHz band has been proposed as a dedicated band for utility use, particularly for advanced metering infrastructure.

This follows a report by Vodafone, which reveals that of the responding companies, 28% are using IoT in their operations, and 76% say the IoT will be critical to their success.

The report further shows that for the energy industry, security is still a key concern, given the critical nature of the sector. However, nearly 59% of the utility companies utilising IoT are working on security guidelines and approximately 52% working with a specialist security provider.

In the Netherlands, there are calls to link sensors to critical infrastructure, lighting and traffic and an increase in IoT network implementations in France and Japan.

Utilities to drive change

According to Robert Aiello, managing director of the Itron Idea Labs, “utilities have an opportunity to drive a real shift in how they engage with consumers to enable smarter communities, propel local economic development and better manage energy and water.”

Aiello believes that the IoT is the enabler of what is called the ‘active grid.’ This allows devices to not only measure and communicate, but ‘make decisions and take action in real time.’ By enabling analysis of data in the field, harnessing the power of IoT will improve efficiencies, creating value for energy and water management and smart city applications.

Says Aiello: “In the age of IoT, technology trends are evolving at an unprecedented rate, enabling new IoT applications that reach beyond connections and truly bring the power of action and intelligence to field-level devices.

“The convergence of innovative technologies, emerging smart cities and IoT markets is helping accelerate this trend. Every day, new thresholds of innovation are reached that shift how we think about approaching and solving problems. For utilities, that time is now.”