It’s a strange phrase – most energy distribution networks are already connected – at least to an energy source – however this promise is about internet connectivity! As a “distribution engineering veteran” the dream of having widespread network visibility was an unthinkable possibility in my youth. Today it is a very realistic possibility, as both the IBM and Utility Products links below, examples illustrate – the potential for a dream to become a reality is within today’s modern world grasp – if we want to chase it and make it so!
Indeed looking at smart grid examples from China in the link below:
the internet connectivity has clearly enabled visibility of secondary substations on a widespread basis, with automation and asset monitoring advantages. The technology is with us on the global stage and it’s there to be widely adopted for the benefits to accrue. In writing this, I hear the restraint of the “cyber risk” and “business case” communities proclaiming words of concern. In response I have two simple considerations –
1) how many customers use internet banking and how does the potential risk to your domestic or business finances compare to the risk of you being in more control of your energy?
2) In making the purchase of a smart phone, how much business case analysis did you do?
In both of these examples could you today envisage a world without internet banking, or without your smart phone – what would the opportunity cost be if they were not available?
IOT connectivity for energy distribution networks offers a transformational, ground-breaking step forward, it’s happening elsewhere around the world. The risks do need to be managed, they also need to be seen in perspective – the benefits of energy distribution network visibility far outweigh the potential risk – at least through the eyes of this veteran!