Opportunities abound to use smart-grid data ‘in ways never before possible’

As utility companies use more and more “smart” devices to gather information about the energy they produce, transmit and sell, they’re facing exponentially growing mountains of data that could be valuable.

Actually extracting value from that data, though, can be another matter: there’s just so much information to dig through.

That’s why companies like Silver Spring Networks and EMC Corporation are finding new value in working together. The smart-grid networking specialist and IT service provider say that, by combining their technology and service offerings, they can help utilities gain more insights from the “big data” they’re increasingly generating.

“The promise of networking millions of homes and businesses has always been about improving utilities’ operational effectiveness and service for their customers,” said Scott Lang, president, chairman and CEO of Silver Spring Networks. “Using advanced analytics is a natural step towards this objective.”

The growing volumes of data about our energy use makes it clear why the smart grid is often called the “internet of things.” Just like the regular internet keeps expanding in size and complexity — creating ever-more opportunities for companies like Google and Facebook that can help users make sense of it all — the smart grid too has massive growth potential. With all the new data coming from everything from smart home energy meters synchrophasors (“considered to be one of the most important measuring devices in the future of power systems”), similar opportunities will abound for organizations that can help utilities, too,”make sense of it all.”

“Utility companies are rich with invaluable data, from the back office to the network edge, and have an unprecedented opportunity to maximize Big Data solutions to transform their businesses and vastly improve the services they deliver,” said Bill Cook, president and general manager of Greenplum, a division of EMC. By partnering to develop new algorithms for mining meaning from bits and bytes, companies like his and Silver Spring Networks are “working to enable smart-grid information to be utilized in ways never before possible, to reveal relevant trend patterns and uncover new insights hidden within.”

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