In the developing age of the Internet of Things (IoT), we must stay attune to emerging technologies and industry transformations. What if real IoT value comes not from the ability to connect devices, but from taking action with little human intervention? How will we harness IoT technology to better overcome the challenges of tomorrow? The possibilities surrounding the future of connected communities may very well require reworking, rethinking and re-imaging technology. By enabling devices to take action in the field in real time, IoT transforms smart grid and smart distribution systems into an active system for energy, water and beyond.

The utility sector is no stranger to IoT technologies and architecture. Already connecting millions of smart devices, energy and water utilities are poised to make the IoT a reality with distributed intelligence. Distributing intelligence across utility systems allows utilities to capitalize on connected devices, leveraging computing power to not only communicate and measure, but to act and solve problems in real-time. Instead of collecting quantitative data for the utility back office to decipher, active grids and systems make decisions in real time and utilize data to create value independently and make changes intelligently.

This evolution in intelligence can be attributed to specific technological characteristics, all of which work to maximize the value potential in meters, grid sensors and other types of connected devices. These characteristics include in-field processing power with the computing equivalent of a smart phone, locational awareness in relation to other devices, and multilingual devices that simultaneously speak the language. When many types of sensors, including electricity, gas or water meters; pressure, temperature or leak sensors; streetlights or solar panels are interconnected that is where the promise of IoT can be delivered. Bringing together datasets from the different sensors in a central area will enable correlations that were not previously possible because of the siloed data approach. This is being done in the utility industry today.

In the age of IoT, it’s time to rethink the possibilities of connection and enable optimal intelligence. Learning from an existing, successful IoT vertical like smart energy and water can help speed up the reality of IoT for everyone.

 

By Roberto Aiello, New Business Innovation, New Models, Itron CTO Office