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Utilities need to exploit the deluge of data set to grow in 2020 as smart device sales soar. Big data analytics has emerged in response to the exponential growth in data, and the utility industry, like most other industries, has started to make several transformations with the use of modern devices, says GlobalData, a data and analytics company. 

Cloud computing, machine learning, Internet of Things (IoT), robotics, blockchain and cybersecurity are being deployed by utilities in their operations. These technologies are the big current and future investment avenues for utilities and they all have one thing in common: they generate a huge amount of data. 

GlobalData’s latest report, ‘Big Data in Utilities – Thematic Research’, highlights how the data generated is growing each year the number of smart devices and technologies being deployed within the power systems infrastructure by both utilities and consumers increases.

Harshavardhan Reddy Nagatham, Senior Power Analyst at GlobalData, comments: “Utilities’ infrastructure is being upgraded with smart devices that will continually generate data. Electric vehicles (EVs), smart home systems, grid management systems and many more subsystems will also interface with utilities and provide potentially valuable data. 

“The challenge for utilities is to make this data useful and generate actionable insights on aspects such as consumer behaviour and demand-supply balance, from it. Benefiting from large datasets is not straightforward and utilities need to deploy a range of new IT solutions that allow them to collect the data in consistent ways, as well as transport, secure, analyse and store it.”

Due to presumable reluctance, currently only a small number of utilities have adopted big data analytics actively worldwide. These are mostly large utilities and very few smaller companies. While some utilities have designated other companies to implement big data in their businesses, some have collaborated with technology firms through partnerships and joint ventures to build new products and services specific to the power sector that can be used in their business, and can also be sold to other utilities.

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