Power-Utility Analytics Will Hit $3.8 Billion a Year by 2020: Report

Spending on power-utility analytics could hit $3.8 billion a year worldwide by 2020, according to a new forecast by GTM Research.

Utility companies will employ a broad array of analytics tools, ranging from Hadoop-backed datasets to predictive-analytics platforms and massively parallel processing (MPP) Big Data appliances. On the consumer side, the research firm predicts that utilities in the U.S. will end up spending roughly $100 per home on “grid operations” and “consumer-related analytics.”

“With the influx of big data, the potential of smart grid has shifted dramatically from the original aim of adding a myriad of new devices toward a complete re-invention of the way utilities do business,” Rick Thompson, President and Co-Founder at GTM Research, wrote in a statement attached to the report. “We are now moving into a market where the spotlight will be on the data analytics software that will allow utilities to track, visualize and predict everything from grid operations to electricity consumption.”

Indeed, multiple IT vendors are already moving in that direction. For example, Oracle announced Dec. 13 that it would acquire DataRaker, a builder of cloud-based analytical software for electric, gas, and water utilities. Oracle plans on merging DataRaker’s technology with its own Oracle Utilities hardware, apparently with an eye toward boosting the efficiency of both.

Over the summer, Oracle surveyed several senior-level executives at North American utilities with smart meter programs. “A vast majority of utility executives are working to enhance their ability to glean real intelligence from smart grid data—to ultimately create new opportunities to improve service reliability and deliver useful information to customers,” Rodger Smith, senior vice president and general manager of Oracle Utilities, wrote in a statement at the time. “Utilities can benefit from establishing enterprise information strategies, and investing in the systems and people needed to make better business decisions.”

Despite GTM Research’s robust predictions for utility-analytics spending in years to come, however, consumers and utility companies have proven a bit reluctant to embrace technologies such as smart meters and energy sensors. Several IT giants have launched home-energy monitoring initiatives over the past few years, including Google and Microsoft, only to shut them down following anemic response.

That being said, a number of startups have recently entered the utility-analytics game. Combine that with continued interest by giants such as Oracle, and it’s clear that GTM Research’s prediction could very well come true.


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