IIOT – The challenge and the opportunity


Speaking to Peter Asman, Vice President IIoT EMEA, Trilliant Networks, during European Utility Week, contributing editor Kelvin Ross explores the Industrial IoT space.

This article was originally published in Smart Energy International 3-2019. Read the full digimag here or subscribe to receive a print copy here.

How is the IIoT evolving and how is this impacting the energy market?

I’ve noticed a change within the utility sector – one in which utilities are moving from utilising smart meters and the data they deliver – to more of an IoT platform.

This move enables them to do much more than just deliver raw meter data to a backend system. Because utilities now need to process data quicker and develop deeper insights from that data, IoT platforms are becoming more prominent and prevalent.

In this space everyone’s looking at IoT, looking for the recipe to success.

Is there an ideal blueprint that can be followed when it comes to IoT implementations?

Did you know that 70% of IOT proof of concepts fail around the world today? There are a lot of providers that will provide the hardware, or the software or analytics platform at the beginning, middle or end of the cycle. What we are trying to do is close that gap by delivering an end-to-end platform that can deliver a world-class IoT platform to an organisation, enabling data to flow backward and forward.

Importantly, we are wrapping it all together in a very secure environment and delivering a management console which allows data to be analysed and reacted upon quickly. This means that utilities are now able to provide a proactive maintenance environment, instead of having to pursue a reactive maintenance schedule.

What are the obstacles to be overcome?

Utilities today operate utilising multiple data sources provided by multiple software companies and in order to pull good quality information from all that data, barriers to the successful analysis of the data needs to be removed.

Quality data provides utilities with an opportunity to identify options that will enable them to operate more effectively.

In order to do so, it is important to cut back on the complications in order to quickly identify alternatives.

We see a lot of opportunity with smart cities and the subsequent integration of data across multiple data sources. This approach is being seen in large utility organisations and cities around the world. Citizens are getting involved and telling their utilities and city leaders that they want more from their cities.

In many cases, one of the first projects undertaken in a smart city is the implementation of smart lighting applications. Switching to LED street lighting will definitely save money.

Moving to smart street lighting opens up a whole new set of avenues to consider.

Smart streetlight technology enables cities to monitor and manage pollution, rainfall, temperature and CCTV and then link it to services like charging for electric vehicles and parking management. It is here that I believe we are going to see a huge amount of change and a marketplace shift.

Of course, if you talk to 50 people, you will get 50 different opinions about what a smart city is. At the end of the day – each one is different. What is clear though is that citizens want more of a voice to influence decisions about what they want and need within their city space. SEI