IoT DEVICES

The IoT utilities market has been expanding at a robust pace over the last few years, pertaining to the rising energy consumption. The enforcement of government regulations regarding energy conservation has urged utility companies to adopt better means of energy utilisation and Internet of Things (IoT) is expected to emerge as one such promising element.

The utilities industry at present is facing complex pressure. While on one hand energy consumption around the world is rising exponentially with the US Energy Information Administration estimating energy consumption to rise by 48% by 2040, energy generation, especially through renewable resources has also increased remarkably.

With smart grids being envisioned to modernise the entire energy industry, the IoT utilities market is expected to gain massive traction over the coming years. Global Market Insights anticipates the IoT utilities market to record $15 billion in revenue by 2024.

Considering the need to utilise this energy in the most efficient way possible, utility companies as well as most industries and governments are ready to invest in latest technologies, thus lending a potent boost to the global IoT utilities market.

The growth of the renewable energy generation capacity can be aptly validated through the rapidly expanding global solar energy industry which is expected to expand substantially in the US.

This generated energy has to reach consumers many of whom are ready to move towards lower cost, more eco-friendly energy solutions. In fact, new high-tech home products like smart thermostats and connected outlets seem to have an immense appeal for consumers and as large, energy-efficient appliances like washers, dryers and refrigerators have proven in the past, the adoption of smart devices can considerably reduce energy usage worldwide.

Popularity of IoT devices, combined with tax incentives and home insurance discounts has not only encouraged consumers but also utility companies to take steps to make their services “smart” and suitable for the new age of home builders and owners and to remain competitive in a rapidly evolving market.

What has the contribution of government bodies been toward the expansion of IoT utilities industry?

One of the instances of government initiatives that can potently drive the IoT utilities market is the US Department of Energy's pursuit of a smart grid that is investing in the utilisation of technologies which can lower power costs and transmit electricity more efficiently.

A manifestation of the initiative is evident in the installation of smart meters in Bellevue, Washington. In December 2018, the Washington City Council approved a $20.2 million contract to install smart water meters at homes in the city.

Approximately 1,000 meters are planned to be installed around the city by spring 2019 as a part of a pilot programme. The meters are designed to be able to detect leaks and allow for remote meter reads. If the pilot project proves to be successful, the meters will be installed across the city by fall 2019 with a goal to complete the project by 2020. The chief advantage of the installation of smart water meters will be leveraged by the Bellevue Utilities Department which will get hourly data on water usage in the city while homeowners will also be able to monitor this data and adjust usage accordingly.

Governments are additionally helping in the growth of IoT utilities market by not only encouraging the installation of smart meters across the country but also allaying the skepticism and concern over data privacy. For instance, in the case of the Bellevue installations, city officials have ensured that the water meter data will be encrypted on a network maintained by Cisco Systems with further assurances of no personally identifiable data to be transmitted from the smart meters.

Remarkably, though Europe has always been on the lead when it came to renewable energy adoptions, in the past decade, due to increasing attention being paid to renewables globally, the adoption of renewable energy to replace fossil fuel has been on the rise across the world. The Asia Pacific is one of these emerging regions where the IoT utilities market is expected to witness immense growth due to efforts to promote smart buildings and cities and the rising demand for smart metering solutions.

Government funding and regulations are pushing utilities to set strong deployment targets. Enhanced customer service, easier payments and improved outage management offered by smart meters are also aiding in the growth of the overall IoT utilities market in the region. Heavy investments to improve the energy infrastructure and presence of large number of gas and electricity production facilities in the region are also expected to drive the APAC IoT utilities market growth to 2024.

As more utility companies come to the realisation that IoT adoption is not only important for their growth but for also their survival in a constantly changing environment, more and more organizations will be bent on the adoption of such changes that will also contribute towards a more cost-effective, reliable energy source as well as better level of service to customers. The IoT utility industry will receive a further boost from the fact that smart energy monitors can not only enable consumers to monitor their own energy consumption but also help utility providers to keep tabs on their own energy usage thus helping to cut down on meter-reading costs, providing customers with more accurate usage information and streamlining billing practices with real-time data.