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Pike Research forecasts smart grid IT market to reach $8.6 billion by 2017

SUBNET Solutions Inc | Monday, April 16, 2012

Utilities across North America and the globe are spending billions of dollars to modernize antiquated electric infrastructure through smart meters and automated systems, however the benefits of these improvements will only be felt if companies invest in accompanying utility information technology systems, a new report from Pike Research suggests.

These systems help utilities collect, manage and analyze huge amounts of data generated by smart grid technologies such as intelligent electronic devices (IEDs). To excel, utilities will need to put data and information management on a pedestal in the same way other industries have. Recognition of this has led utilities to focus on and invest more heavily in software and IT for the smart grid.

Pike's report found that the global smart grid software market is expected to grow to $1.3 billion by the end of 2012, and by 2017, will top $2.9 billion, growing at a compound annual growth rate of 15.2 percent. Total software and IT services are forecast to create a $4.3 billion market by the end of this year, and by 2017, it could grow to $8.6 billion.

"IT is becoming an important part of the transformation of network operations as utilities exploit new data sources in order to improve network efficiency," says research director Eric Woods. "Siloes of operations are being broken down, and new capabilities are emerging based on large-scale information management, real-time data analysis, and the move to closed-loop systems for managing, monitoring, and controlling the smart grid."

The market will be comprised of established IT vendors that have recently entered into the utility sector, equipment vendors and start-up technology providers. The emerging market will also create a tangled network of IT and operational technology (OT) vendors. As grid infrastructure suppliers such as ABB, Siemens and Schneider Electric produce more smart grid products, utilities will likely find themselves in a reshaped landscape where interoperability and cooperation could be more important than direct competition.

SUBNET, which Pike has named one of the industry's key players, has developed software and solutions that will help utilities install and manage IEDs securely. SUBNET's Unified Grid Intelligence uses a vendor-agnostic approach to connect any substation device over any communication network to any business intelligence system. The interoperability philosophy drives SUBNET's holistic approach to real-time integration of utility systems, all while ensuring compliance with strict NERC CIP requirements. 

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