Zpryme recently surveyed 350 utilities across the globe to understand communication network trends that will emerge as more data, sensors, and business models emerge in the utility industry. The research was commissioned by Silver Spring Networks.

Communication Network Trends Driving Grid Transformation

The key findings that will drive grid transformation are highlighted below. The research report examines current and future use cases among utilities. However, as utility networks evolve, there will be an emerging opportunity to share infrastructure (utilities, cities, governments, and consumers) and data to provide new services to end-users.

Source: Zpryme report: Modernizing the Distribution Grid (October 2017)

Smart Cities Drive Need for Shared Infrastructure Roadmap

A concentrated effort in the U.S. and across the globe to position the Smart City concept as an enabler of economic and technological innovation is ushering in massive investment in smart city initiatives. The role of utilities, government, transportation, information technology, and consumers are all key components of smart city programs.

What is currently missing from the smart city conversation is a multi-stakeholder Shared Infrastructure Roadmap to develop a framework, polices and standards needed to prioritize and align the data needs of smart cities with the on-going efforts taking place individually at each of the stakeholder organizations.

Although this will be a cumbersome task, it should be a priority led by U.S. government agencies, industry and state-level municipalities. We see 2018 as an opportune time to organize such a working group given the heightened interest in smart cities.

A few good examples to model such a roadmap are:

  1. National Healthcare Interoperability Roadmap
  2. Cybersecurity National Action Plan
  3. City of Austin Smart Mobility Roadmap

New Data Platforms to Create Value and Provide New Services

Shared infrastructure will create data platforms that will create new services, industries, and value streams for all stakeholders involved in smart city efforts. Most importantly, consumers and businesses will have the opportunity to monetize their data. The excerpt below taken from the City of Austin Smart Mobility Roadmap (page 40) perfectly captures how data platforms will be utilized:

The Trillion Dollar Question – Who will process and manage all the Data?

Assuming we reach an era of real-time information sharing of data and infrastructure, and IoT and AI live up to their hype, the basic question of who will process all that data becomes essential and lucrative. Will we reach a point where the amount of data we produce as a society grows rapidly faster than the rate we can manage it?

I would love to hear your thoughts on who will win the the data processing market of the future.

To learn more about the digital connection between consumers and technology check out Zpryme’s ETS18 taking place March 26-29 in Austin, Texas.