Providing a growing population with enough energy and water to meet its needs, without causing potentially catastrophic damage to the environment is one of the biggest challenges facing governments and societies worldwide.
The systematic use of embedded mobile connectivity to create smart utility grids and smart energy environments can improve suppliers’ ability to effectively manage demand and enable consumers and businesses to use energy and water more efficiently. Mobile connectivity can give both utility companies and their customers’ real-time information about energy and water usage, enabling them to spread demand across the day and take action to reduce wastage.
To accelerate the development and deployment of embedded utilities devices and solutions, the GSMA is engaging with the wider ecosystem and working with the key players to understand their needs and to reduce the barriers to adoption.
As the cost of mobile modules falls, embedded utilities solutions will proliferate, creating opportunities for the development of innovative new services. The time to act is now.
Embedded utilities solutions can bring the following benefits:
For users and society:
- Ability to monitor consumption in real-time
- More efficient usage and lower greenhouse gas emissions
- Ability to control appliances remotely
- Less likely to suffer supply disruption
- More accurate billing
For utility companies:
- More efficient management of demand and supply
- Fewer outages
- Automated and accurate meter readings
- Improved information about customers
- Real-time monitoring of network performance and remote diagnostics
- Reduction of maintenance costs
- Opportunity to offer tailored tariff plans
- Opportunity to sell additional services
- Between 2008 and 2015, the utilities sector is set to invest US$200 billion in smart grids worldwide.
- By the end of this decade, smart grids could save the U.S. US$63 billion annually by improving transmission efficiency and reliability.
- Customer applications, such as dynamic pricing programmes, could save the U.S. a further US$59 billion a year.
- Fitting 26 million homes in the UK with smart meters would generate savings of GBP£14.7 billion for power companies and their customers over twelve years.
- In the U.S., the utilities sector will invest between US$15 billion and US$31 billion in smart grid deployments annually from 2014, to be shared amongst telecoms, semiconductor, hardware and software companies, together with systems integrators.
- China’s government has allocated US$7.3 billion to smart grid stimulus funding, while South Korea aims to spend US$23.7 billion by 2030 on smart grids.
Sources: McKinsey, Microsoft survey, Zpryme, Pike Research, UK Government, Electric Power Research Institute