Software as a service and other as a service offerings have gradually gained acceptance with utilities and combining these to offer smart energy as a service is the next obvious step. This is what Verizon has done for the United States, in a new offering which is likely to have appeal, especially for companies lacking the financial or human resources to implement their own systems.
Named ‘Grid Wide Utility Solutions’, the platform combines Verizon’s wireless and private network and cloud environment along with cloud-based applications with pre-configured data and analytics dashboards. These provide an integrated solution for smart metering, demand response, meter data management and distribution monitoring and control.
With 147 million electric meters in the US today, Verizon’s Grid Wide aims to transform the delivery and consumption of energy nationwide for investor-owned, cooperative and municipal utilities and their customers.
As a service offer
As a service model, the complexities, time and cost for utilities with having to build their own solution are removed, with access on a per-month, per-meter cost basis.
Solutions that are offered by Verizon include:
• Meter reading and control, outage and restoration notifications and scheduled and on-demand data
• Load shaping and consumer consumption alerts
• Meter data validation, estimation, and editing (VEE) and billing data management
• Grid monitoring and control, fault location, isolation and service restoration (FLISR) and asset management.
Currently the solution is available for electric meters but the company has indicated a road map that includes certifying gas and water meter manufacturers in the coming months.
As a service market potential
Like the availability of cloud storage and applications, as a service offerings will become increasingly common as the Internet of Things grows and companies are faced with new products and solutions. [See e.g. Engerati-Energyworx Disrupts The Energy World Using Google’s Cloud Platform]
A 2014 study from Navigant Research found that power industry vendors are increasingly providing their technology and applications under an as a service model in anticipation of future demand. Navigant Research forecast that the global smart grid as a service market will grow more than six-fold over the next decade from just under US$1.7 billion in 2014 to more than US$11.1 billion in 2023. Currently software solutions and analytics sold under a software as a service model are the largest category of smart grid as a service spending, followed by AMI managed services, but major growth is forecast for demand response.
While the individual elements of Verizon’s offering have been available this appears to be a first to bring them all together in a single service model, and it offers the potential for replication in other regions.