Enterprise Internet of Things: How It Shapes the Future of the Energy Management

Enterprise Internet of Things: How It Shapes the Future of the Energy Management
Enterprise Internet of Things: How It Shapes the Future of the Energy Management

Widespread digitalization can fairly be called the driving trend for the energy industry today. The industry is facing global crises, an increase in energy consumption, and a growing need for renewable resources. To become more flexible and transparent, digital technologies, specifically the Enterprise Internet of Things (EIoT), must be used properly. One might even say that the emergence and evolvement of IoT just happened in time for the energy sector. Utilizing advanced monitoring, IoT-based automation, and predictive analytical capabilities brought by the IoT, energy operators, and utilities are likely to overcome the upcoming energy challenges more easily.

In various analytical resources, EIoT solutions are increasingly presented as a must-have for energy companies. The energy sector is expected to become one of the biggest consumers of IoT edge devices, which implies a significant modernization of energy infrastructures. Moreover, industrial IoT solution for energy involves the use of asset data to enhance planning, and distribution activities, and mitigate risks of system malfunction. Thus, modernized systems are expected to become more independent regarding both energy distribution and asset maintenance. It’s precisely what can help energy companies and consumers seamlessly enter the upcoming future.

Why enterprise Internet of Things is a hot topic for the energy industry

The Internet of Things is a concept centered on gaining real-time data from assets, processing and analyzing it to forecast the system’s behavior. In energy, where outages are critical, IoT provides reliable management in the following way:

  • IoT sensors collect data on the consumption of electricity, water, heat, etc.; measure pressure, temperature and other parameters to control the status of assets, as well as detect leakages.
  • Actuators connected to IoT sensors automatically shut off and resume the supply of gas, water, heat and so on.
  • Cloud connectivity simplifies the monitoring of energy infrastructure objects, and management of energy distribution and increases overall transparency.
  • AI applications for predictive analytics to implement condition-based and predictive maintenance of pipes, electrical installations, wind turbines and other energy equipment.

Implementation of IoT solutions requires modernization and expansion of the existing infrastructure, as well as a new approach to its maintenance. The ultimate challenge for energy operators and utilities is to build a reliable network in compliance with conditions of use, and KPIs they set. It requires sensors to be resilient enough to withstand the environmental conditions, deciding the processing center to be local or virtual, reliable IoT communication protocols and network topology, and custom apps that consider an optimal set of factors to create precise analytical models. Additionally, IoT-based energy infrastructure should have the potential to be expanded.

Thus, when implementing IoT solutions, the energy network turns into an intelligent energy network, which can bring enhanced efficiency for consumption management, energy distribution, maintenance processes, and immediate reaction to issues. Fortunately, developments in edge computing, embedded systems and AI fields allow enterprises to create affordable custom EIoT solutions with ROI expected soon.

How Enterprise Internet of Things promotes trends in energy sector

Enhanced management of renewable energy
The green energy vector has strengthened so much that the concept of “smart” energy became frequently associated with the concept of “renewable” energy. This can be explained by the fact that the future of renewable energy seems in close conjunction with Enterprise IoT solutions. First, advanced IoT monitoring is indispensable when considering infrastructure for renewable energy stations to be expanded; and second, it can provide highly efficient solutions for energy storage and management, eliminating the need for renewable energy to be immediately utilized.  

Enterprise Internet of Things promotes the surge in the effectiveness of green energy at all stages of its lifecycle–from generation to final utilization. For instance, by equipping solar panels with IoT sensors, the smart system can determine optimal conditions for energy generation. After transferring data to the edge or cloud processing server, the system can automatically reorient to generate energy most effectively. Using the same principle, it can detect unexpected changes in wind patterns and can automatically adjust the orientation of wind turbines.

Regarding energy management, an efficient solution can be found in IoT-enabled energy storage. They allow for the collection, storage and distribution of energy locally or from a central node. Energy in such storage can be utilized as a main or reserve energy source since IoT software platforms allow for comprehensive monitoring of various connected assets. Energy providers can search for the optimal combination of renewables with fossils soon. Thus, the IoT ecosystem can provide reliable support over the transition period allowing companies to utilize several energy types simultaneously.

Decentralized electricity generation
This item naturally follows the previous one since the shift to renewables invariably leads to an increase of loads to electricity networks. In the next 10 years, we expect a natural growth of electricity demand, and therefore the need for electricity grid expansion. However, this is not always physically possible and economically justified. Decentralized generation, storage and distribution of energy seem to become a workable solution here, which can be smoothly implemented with the help of Enterprise Internet of Things solutions. It is important to have accurate information about the amount of energy being produced and consumed to effectively manage and balance energy supply and demand. Also, decentralization can be supported when implementing IoT automation solutions for some energy management processes.

To minimize risks of outages, increase reliability and rationally balance supply and demand for electricity, IoT-enabled energy storage systems are also helpful. IoT components, including reliable cellular networks, allow for flawless access to the cloud for remote tracking control and troubleshooting of such systems. Second, it allows control conditions for the storage system itself. For example, by controlling the temperature and humidity of the storage system and collecting data on battery status and its charging mode, the system lifecycle can be significantly extended.

Thus, it makes renewable energy a controlled resource.

Predictive analytics through Enterprise Internet of Things
Predictive analytics is exactly the tool that helps energy companies be proactive in the face of problems such as power outages, outdated equipment, unusual spikes in energy use, etc. Being proactive allows for more efficient and fast decision-making in emergencies, such as hurricanes, and forest fires, as well as greater transparency and control for the key infrastructure. Both Condition-based maintenance and IoT predictive maintenance approaches are applicable here thanks to real-time data collection. To illustrate, pressure sensors can identify potential leaks, while vibration monitoring can detect equipment misalignment or imbalance that can result in energy waste.

In Predictive Maintenance (PdM) applications, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) algorithms should study the behavior of the asset considering various exploitation conditions. To create an AI-based model, historical maintenance data is a crucial component that helps identify significant maintenance patterns. Thus, predictive models can be developed for the whole systems, mission-critical and non-critical assets, including valves, pipes, motors, pumps, compressors and so on.

Enterprise Internet of Things for energy sector: Summing up

Already, the Internet of Things allows the implementation of digital solutions that can not only significantly increase efficiency but prepare the industry for future changes. [MC1] In the context of energy trends, the Internet of Things enables the following:

  • IoT monitoring capabilities allow getting real-time data on every energy asset for all interested parties.
  • Predictive analytics only gain momentum, offering more affordable solutions, and more precise predictions of the system behavior.
  • IoT-enabled energy storage allows affordable, simple management of renewables as a primary and reserve energy source, as well as management of various energy types simultaneously to regulate supply and demand.
  • IoT solutions support the trend toward decentralization of energy generation, storage and distribution thanks to IoT-based automation, enhanced management and analytics capabilities.

About The Author

Julia Mitchell works as a Business Operations Manager at PSA. She is eager to solve clients’ business challenges by building full-fledged IoT ecosystems. Having 8+ years’ experience in the IoT development industry, Julia has been involved in projects in the Automotive, Energy, Logistics and other domains.

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