Network June 2018

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NETWORK / 15 / JUNE 2018 The Internet of Things (IoT) and the data it offers for monitoring and control represents an important opportunity for utilities. Utilities have long had access to enormous amounts of data, but the building blocks of an IoT solution now include powerful analytics capabilities which enable utilities to better utilise this data to transform their operations. Secure communications with the grid The foundation of any IoT solution is secure, reliable connectivity to assets and endpoints in the field. This includes low-power wireless connectivity that provides extensive coverage coupled with long battery life. It's a solution that scales smoothly and cost-effectively, as new endpoints are added. IoT platform A robust IoT software platform is an essential building block of any IoT solution. High volumes of data are being gathered from disparate systems - wired and wireless - and this platform must connect, process, and transport this data to upstream applications. It must also provide cost- effective lifecycle device management for a rapidly growing range of endpoints. Analytics and visualisations Relevant data is combined and presented in real-time and in context to provide genuine insight. An advanced analytics platform featuring machine learning and visualisation techniques combines data from multiple sources to generate actionable intelligence, which enables predictive maintenance, and real-time control alerts for data trends signalling abnormal operations. Partner with Nokia to build your IoT solution with analytics that unleash the value of data. Visit https://spacetimeinsight. com/ Alternatively email Nigel. or I N D U S T RY I N S I G H T Analytics a key building block for utility IoT solution technology (DLT) enables the linking of large amounts of data sources to make meaningful insight. But we believe there is a whole wealth of benefit the underlying DLT can enable, especially within the context of our rapidly decentralising, smart energy networks of the future. In a nutshell DLT, is a shared, encrypted, decentral - ised ledger system maintained by a network of computers, or nodes, removing the need for a vast array of intermediaries and privately held data sets, whilst providing real time, tamperproof data to optimise system performance. There are a number of ways in which DLT can enhance efficiency, coopera - tion and development of future energy networks while deliver- ing price value for consumers. My colleagues and I are already providing insight to our clients on emerging oppor - tunities and benefits associ- ated with DLT in the context of future energy systems. We were also recently shortlisted for I3P (Infrastructure Industry Innovation Platform) funding to develop a series of rail sector focused solutions and have de - veloped our own in house DLT application, "lifechain," which collates health and safety data from across our supply chain, giving project teams insight into emerging trends and potential future issues on the horizon and, crucially, providing trust, security and transparency to all our stakeholders. This shows how DLT is providing solutions to help meet the critical national needs of the UK's infrastructure. According to Eurobat's 2016 report, homeowners with renewable energy sources only use 30 per cent of the energy they generate and about 60 per cent if they own battery storage as well. Using a DLT solution, this excess energy could be used through localised energy trading networks in which small scale generators can automatically supply their neighbours once their consumption requirements have been satisfied. The Brooklyn microgrid project is researching the potential of DLT for managing a decentralised peer-to-peer power grid with live tests across 10 homes within a community. Once vehicle-to-grid technology takes off, the role of consumers as providers of energy will only become more enhanced and provide additional streams of value. Smart contracts DLT can enable management of energy networks through smart contracts. These con- tracts can provide signals to the energy system to initiate certain transactions based on times, behaviours or any other prede - fined variables. A smart contract backed system could ensure that efficient energy storage takes place whenever excess energy is generated. In the reverse situation, where generated output energy is insufficient to meet consumer demands, DLT could directly control network flows through activation of balancing activi - ties, such as storage facilities, to ensure supply meets the excess in demand. A recent study by Imperial projects a £3-5bn reduction in overall annual costs of running the electricity system if flex - ibility resources can make a full contribution by 2030. With DLT ensuring system accessibility, transparency and automation this projection could easily become reality. These are three key benefits which DLT could bring to the energy sector in future. There will likely be benefits available to less tech savvy consumers. Firstly, due to the simplification of transactions through disin - termediation and digitisation of all documents, transaction costs could decrease. Additionally, the greater market transparency entailed by DLT solutions would likely lead to lower prices as consumers will be able to marry up their consumption with the most cost-effective tariff based on their behaviours.

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