The Internet of Things (IoT) will deliver a smarter grid to enable more information and connectivity throughout the infrastructure and to homes. Through the IoT, consumers, manufacturers and utility providers will uncover new ways to manage devices and ultimately conserve resources and save money by using smart meters, home gateways, smart plugs and connected appliances.
Making the grid infrastructure, meters, homes and buildings more connected
The Internet of Things (IoT) is expected to grow to 50 billion connected devices by 2020, (Cisco, 2011) providing valuable information to consumers, manufacturers and utility providers. Within the IoT, devices across a variety of industries will be interconnected through the Internet and peer-to-peer connections as well as closed networks like those used in smart grid infrastructure.
With the global focus on energy efficiency and conservation, the IoT will extend the connected benefits of the smart grid beyond the distribution, automation and monitoring being done by utility providers. Management systems for in-home and in-building use will help consumers monitor their own usage and adjust behaviours. These systems will eventually regulate automatically by operating during off-peak energy hours and connect to sensors to monitor occupancy, lighting conditions, and more. But it all starts with a smarter and more connected grid.