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What Are the Most Common IoT Trends in the Utility Industry?

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The utility industry is experiencing many changes as environmental rules and regulations become more important. You might have come across catchphrases like greenhouse gas emission, net zero, and green energy, to name a few. While renewable sources of energy are becoming essential to meet all future goals, it would be best to manage energy efficiently. To minimize energy consumption, utility industries are actively using technological advancements, such as IoT.

Understanding IoT

The IoT (Internet of Things) is a technological advancement that relies on the internet to connect physical devices. Therefore, you can consider IoT as a network of technology and devices that allow communication between the cloud and devices or between two different types of devices. This technological advancement is used to create IoT solutions and systems. Typical IoT systems work by exchanging and gathering data. To make this possible, IoT systems must include the following:

  • IoT applications for utilities allow end-users to control the entire system, add/set up devices, and set preferences.
  • Connectivity improves communication gateways or protocols, which receive commands or transmit data to the cloud.
  • Hardware, including actuators, sensors, and other smart devices, collects data or controls specific mechanisms.
  • The cloud itself stores data.

What’s the Importance of IoT Technology in the Utility Industry?

IoT is essential in the utility industry, helping business organizations optimize the allocation of resources. Utility providers may leverage this technological advancement to streamline gas, water, and energy generation. It also streamlines business security, workforce management, monitoring, and remote surveillance. For instance, a water company can use IoT devices to detect leaks and perform proactive maintenance. With this practice, the company will be able to minimize infrastructure damage and reduce water losses. The company can as well use IoT sensors to measure chlorine levels, turbidity, and water pH. The sensors gather real-time data, allowing users to minimize waste and optimize the distribution of water.

Factors Affecting IoT in the Utility Sector

Some industries invest in intelligent technology to replace all the legacy systems with an automated management solution. However, owing to power consumption of energy, the demand for the technology in the utility sector suffers a lot. While these management systems need multiple services, software, and devices from vendors, this, in turn, helps to restrain market expansion. In addition to this, IoT solutions might be infeasible or costly to execute due to a wide area of assets that need to travel. Apart from the increasing demand and a shortage of labor globally, agriculture robots have also started to gain more attention. The recent developments in IoT sensors have made all these robots notable.

Common IoT Trends in the Sector

The utility industry is among the first few sectors to embrace the technology-introduced innovative solution in Europe and the US. By doing so, they obtained accurate data, eliminating expensive technical issues like poor management of data, data sharing, and data loss. For the last few years, new IoT trends have come in, especially in natural gas, water, and electricity services. These trends include the following:

1.      Workplace Safety

About 38% of utility organizations use the technology for workplace safety benefits. For instance, you can use connected devices or systems in workplace equipment to increase safety. For utility employees, this may include proximity sensors and systems in cherry pickers so as to let employees know when they are near power lines.

2.      Smart Home Offerings and EV (electrical vehicle) Charging

As many people use EVs, the demand for connected and innovative changes installed in residences and businesses will increase. An intelligent charging station can play an essential role in grids because it helps balance the load. In addition, energy suppliers may further control demand by providing consumers with incentives to use energy, especially at non-peak times. For end-consumers, transparency in pricing results in lower bills, while grid operators minimize the costs of building capacity.

3.      Management of Water

Conservation is essential when it comes to the management of water, especially in urban areas where keeping track of how we use water is difficult. IoT brings greater control and transparency to the water supply chain, making optimization of water consumption, distribution, production, and treatment possible. Sensors measure the quality of water and its chemical composition after treatment. They track changes in pipe pressure, storage reservoir, and wear/tear on every equipment that distributes and processes water to consumers. The data that sensors generate reveal insights into the changing conditions of equipment and water resources. In addition, sensors track water consumption patterns, helping end users save manpower, money, and resources.

4.      Smart Cities

Smart cities are those that use interconnected data to control and understand their operations as well as optimize the use of the available resources. These smart cities are a point of focus for many governments globally. Being in the frontline, innovative city aims to use technological advancement to drive economic growth and improve life quality. An excellent example of this is an intelligent parking system, which helps drivers find stress lights or parking spaces that dim themselves with sunrise. Other intelligent monitoring systems and sensors alert authorities about issues like accidents or leakage. How smart cities work depends on their data and collection. Usually, this data is gathered through interconnected devices. Implementation of intelligent cities includes the following steps:

  • Collection of data
  • Data analysis
  • Communication
  • Action

5.      Connected Building Security and Buildings

Property owners use IoT to improve building security and make buildings smarter. This means they are more comfortable, energy-efficient, safer, healthier, and convenient. IoT systems in commercial buildings may help to monitor HVAC systems that use automation and real-time data technologies to adjust and measure temperature constantly for comfort and energy efficiency. In-home settings, consumers may install intelligent technologies, like smoke detectors, to help them with their daily needs, such as coordinating temperature control to property owners’ schedules.

 

As we witness more exciting developments or changes, one thing is certain—the need for energy efficiency will reshape the IoT. This is a journey towards an efficient, connected, and sustainable world. By also understanding IoT trends, we can unlock the full potential of the technology in the utility industry.