The edge of intelligence: using smart grids for real-time decision making
……Smart meters and smart grid technology play an integral role in making the internet of things (IoT) possible in the utility sector. Today, these technologies are delivering tangible benefits to both utilities and consumers; however, while smart grid networks and devices do a fine job of moving data around today, will simply connecting devices be enough to meet the needs of a modernised grid tomorrow? With increasing demands of the grid, including electric vehicles, renewable energy and distributed generation, we are moving away from a centralised generation and delivery model to a dynamic, distributed collection of ‘micro-grids’ that will need to be synchronised, monitored and maintained in real time.
Beyond being smart, the grid needs to be active, meaning it also needs to have the inherent capability to respond in real time. Today, metering and grid systems collect reams of data and make sense of it in the utility’s back office. The active grid leverages data to make real-time changes in the field. The active grid harnesses the power of the IoT to improve efficiencies and create value for both utilities and communities. With this approach to the grid, utilities can capitalise on the potential of these connected devices that have the computing power to not only measure and communicate, but solve problems on the grid in real time.
Imagine data analysis and decisions taking place where it makes the most sense – at the edge of the network rather than only in the utility back office. Imagine using devices that dynamically detect theft situations or transformer overload before it happens–improving safety, reliability and ultimately, profitability. This is true edge intelligence.