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2015 Global Smart Infrastructure - Gravitating Towards Smart Grids and M2M

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Last updated: 28 Oct 2015 Update History

Report Status: Archived

Report Pages: 89

Lead Analyst: Kylie Wansink

Contributing Analysts: Paul Budde, Peter Evans, Henry Lancaster

Publication Overview

There are now several countries around the world which are putting smart infrastructure central to their energy policies as they see this as a link to various innovation developments. Telecoms companies are demonstrating particular interest in Smart Energy developments due to the heavy reliance on M2M and sensor technology. This report provides a comprehensive overview of trends and developments for the Global Smart Grid and M2M movements. The report analyses the key issues, challenges and opportunities, supported by examples where available. It includes a valuable case study on Australia, which is often internationally used as an example of industry reform. It also includes brief insights into smart grid developments from selected countries around the world.

Subjects include:

  • Global smart grid trends and statistics;
  • Global smart meter trends and statistics;
  • Analysis of telcos and new opportunities;
  • The role of M2M and in terms of telcos;
  • Case study on smart energy in Australia;
  • Brief insights into smart energy developments in selected countries.

Reserachers:- Kylie Wansink, Paul Budde, Henry Lancaster, Peter Evans.
Current publication date:- October 2015 (5th Edition)

Executive Summary

The smart energy revolution

There is no doubt that we are in the midst of an energy revolution. Not only is the nature of energy changing from fossil-generated energy to renewable – there is a total change in the distribution structure occurring with less focus on centralisation and more on distributed energy.

Concerns about issues such as energy security, environmental sustainability, and economic competitiveness are triggering a shift in energy policy, technology and consumer focus. This, in turn, is making it necessary to move on from the traditional energy business models.

Disruption is happening and the challenge for the electricity industry is to run with it. However in some cases it is hard for the electricity industry to take a leadership role due to current government policies, regulations and its own outdated business models which are inhibiting change. Where we do see leadership and innovation is in places where cities are still operating their own electricity networks.

Smart energy signifies a system that is more integrated and scalable, and which extends through the distribution system, from businesses and homes and back to the sources of energy. A smarter energy system has sensors and controls embedded into its fabric. Because it is interconnected, there is a two-way flow of information and energy across the network, including information on pricing and usage, for example. In addition to this, it is intelligent, making use of proactive analytics and automation to transform data into insights and efficiently manage resources.

This links with the telecoms development known as M2M or the ‘internet of things’ (IOT). The telecoms companies are looking at the broader market of M2M as a key revenue earner for the future and BuddeComm estimates that sensors and other devices installed within energy infrastructure will constitute 40%-50% of the overall M2M market. So the electricity sector is a key target market for telcos which are transforming for the future and operating in the M2M space.

Customers are beginning to have an influence on the direction of the energy industry, similar to what we have seen in the telecoms industry. Customers will play an increasingly decisive role, as co-investors, on where the market will be going. This will drive the development of new consumer products and services (similar to the impact of the smartphone on the telecoms industry).

With a better understanding of the complexity involved in the transformation of the electricity industry the words ‘smart or future energy’ are becoming more prominent. BuddeComm believes that the term ‘smart grids’ is too narrow and that eventually ‘smart energy’ will become the accepted terminology – especially once the communications developments in national mobile and fixed broadband networks start to converge with smart grid developments.

Key developments:

  • The transition from the old silo-based energy economy to the new open-ended, interconnected one is very complex, and this transition will be challenging.
  • It is only a matter of time before disruptive sharing developments will take place in the electricity industry.
  • A lot has been said about the disruptive effect that rooftop solar systems and distributed energy will have on traditional energy systems, but the emergence of smart technology and software may be an even bigger threat.
  • Negawatts’, where energy is not consumed, rather than megawatts, is emerging as a major focus of industry analysts. While the rollout of solar systems may be highly disruptive, the biggest battles may be fought over software and other gadgets that will further lower the demand for centralised fossil-fuel generation.
  • Several organisations are now including M2M-based smarts in many of their consumer products: smart TVs, smart cars, smart fridges, smart homes appliances, home-energy management systems, security products, and so on. This is great news for the industry as it opens up a whole new area of telecoms and ICT in general.

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Paul owns and manages the world's largest online Telecommunications Consultancy and is very active on the international telecommunication scene. A very hard worker who is extremely well informed and well connected with all tiers of the ICT industry. He is the force behind the NBN project implementation and a catalyst for the progress of the Digital Economy between the Industry and the powers that be, in the government

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