How the Internet of Things is a game changer for utilities

Since it rose to prominence more than 20 years ago, the internet has proved transformational for industries across the world: from retail to reporting and beyond.

However, beyond online bill payments and usage apps, the utility industry has remained comparatively resistant to the information revolution.

With the cost of connected technology decreasing each year, as well as the increased bandwidth and data availability in homes, that could all be about to change.

These conditions, Forbes magazine claims, constitute a perfect storm for the Internet of Things (IoT) to revolutionize how customers interact with not only their devices, but also with you as a utility.

The Internet of Things

Let’s start from the beginning. IoT is, essentially, the concept of being able to connect any device to the internet and, therefore, to other devices.

Do you want to charge your electric car when the battery connected to your home is full or your solar panels are producing? With an app on your phone, you can be notified at the right time, or these processes can be executed automatically.

This concept has a range of applications for domestic and commercial customers as well as utilities.

Let’s look at a few examples in each category:

Internet of things

Domestic Internet of Things applications

Domestic

Smart meters
These may be the most obvious of IoT devices, but they’re no less useful for that. Smart meters have already been widely adopted by utility companies. They help customers manage, understand, and modify their consumption – before the bill arrives.

Energy conservation
Using smart appliances and controlling apps, your customers can remotely set the conditions and timing of when they use heating, washing machines, air conditioning, and other appliances.

Water management
Similar to a smart electricity meter, smart water monitoring can help customers track temperature, pressure, quality, and consumption. It can also give early warnings of leaking pipes or appliances.

Commercial Internet of Things applications

Regulatory compliance
In certain industries it is vital that accurate consumption of gas, power, and water is monitored and reported. This is, traditionally, a manual process with a corresponding potential for error. With smart metering and monitoring, you can utilize real-time information using any parameters you need to generate a report, giving you control and insight.

Production management
Manufacturing industries need to understand and control gas, power, and water consumption. Which processes are consuming the most? Can efficiencies be found? What is the impact on profitability? IoT can help you model all variables on fully accurate and updated data.

Emission reduction
Using energy consumption and monitoring software, you can readily quantify your carbon footprint. This enables you to optimize your use of resources, recognize your environmental impact, and set data-driven sustainability goals.

Commercial

Utility Internet of Things applications

Utility

Smart grids
With an ever-diversifying energy mix and demand, you as a utility must have the tools to flexibly and immediately monitor and adjust your distribution based on consumption. With smart monitoring, you can, for instance, direct more power to residential zones in the mornings and evenings, shifting to commercial areas during the day to correspond with demand.

Predictive maintenance
With smart condition monitoring, you can predict where and when failures are likely to occur. This enables you to purchase and stock only the replacement parts you’re most likely to need, reducing your costs and ensuring you’ll have the requisite resources available.

Safety
Safety goes hand in hand with predictive maintenance. In an industrial environment where operators frequently deal with potentially hazardous equipment, you must be confident that robust safeguards and monitoring systems are in place to protect you. With IoT, you can ensure that sudden failures are reduced to a minimum and everybody returns home safely each day.

Leverage the power of Internet of Things

In this era of rapidly evolving technological advancement, you as a utility must adapt your operations to stay competitive and satisfy your customers. Itineris’ UMAX CIS/CRM can help you leverage the power of the Internet of Things to optimize your distribution networks, reduce consumption and waste, and embrace sustainability by reducing emissions.

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