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Smart Grid Communications Are Rapidly Shifting Toward Standards-Based Technologies

July 27, 2012
Utility communications networks have traditionally been implemented within vertical application silos, often using proprietary, application-specific technologies. This has been especially true for advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) and other field-based network systems that support distribution automation and smaller substation installations. According to a recent report from Pike Research, a part of Navigant’s Energy Practice, however, emerging smart grid concepts are driving utilities to consider their communications networks as strategic assets, and to adopt standards-based technologies, built to support the Internet Protocol (IP) suite as well as legacy protocols. In response, vendors are rushing to deliver standards-compliant or standards-capable solutions.
In 2010, only 3% of global shipments of radio frequency-based communications nodes for distribution automation and/or AMI applications were based on fully standard technologies. This figure will increase to more than 70% by 2015, the market intelligence firm forecasts, and to 85% by 2020.
“The promise of standards-based, multi-purpose utility networks is finally arriving,” says chief research director Bob Gohn. “While there is still room for innovative proprietary network elements, the momentum is clearly with standard IP-based wired and wireless technologies, whether provided by public carriers or on privately built networks.”
As utilities shift toward a fully integrated grid-wide communications system that will require more sophisticated, and higher value, networking and communications gear, this market will peak at $2.96 billion in sales in 2014, before subsiding to just under $2.6 billion per year in 2020, according to the report. The revenue peak in the middle of the decade will result from the convergence of major smart grid and smart meter deployments in China, Europe, and North America.
The report, “Smart Grid Networking and Communications”, analyzes the current market dynamics and future opportunities for public and private, wired and wireless networks for a range of smart grid applications including smart meters, distribution automation, substation automation, and home area networks. The study provides an in-depth examination of market drivers, technology issues and standards, and the competitive landscape for smart grid networking. Detailed market forecasts are included for unit shipments and revenue, segmented by technology, application, and world region, through 2020. An Executive Summary of the report is available for free download on the Pike Research website.
Contact: Richard Martin
* The information contained in this press release concerning the report, “Smart Grid Networking and Communications,” is a summary and reflects Pike Research’s current expectations based on market data and trend analysis. Market predictions and expectations are inherently uncertain and actual results may differ materially from those contained in this press release or the report. Please refer to the full report for a complete understanding of the assumptions underlying the report’s conclusions and the methodologies used to create the report. Neither Pike Research nor Navigant undertakes any obligation to update any of the information contained in this press release or the report


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