Utility communication is a set of technologies and devices used to coordinate various parts of a complicated utilities distribution system. It monitors & controls grid equipment, measures network performance, and delivers real-time information. Advancement in IT systems led to the development of automated distribution networks for utilities (power, energy, etc.) for efficient functioning of modern power systems. The utility communication market is expected to witness significant growth across the world in the near future owing to automation requirement. This communication system allows well-regulated and efficient transfer of utilities such as power or gas.
The utility communications network is a two-way communication process between all of the data points across the utility. To avoid an ecosystem of fragmented communication networks, utilities around the world are investing heavily to improve communications infrastructure. This infrastructure supports demand response (DR), distribution automation (DA), and advanced metering infrastructure (AMI), fueled by regulatory requirements, government grants, and the high cost of inefficiently delivering energy.
With distributed power generation and the evolution of smarter grids gaining popularity, communication is becoming even more important in the world of utilities. Utilities are establishing to seek ample communication solutions to help manage their multi-vendor, multi-technology networks. Many utilities are struggling to extract value from existing systems because of the problems in managing multiple advanced metering infrastructure platforms. Sudden increase in power consumption, with no corresponding expansion of generation and transmission capacity, have led to increasing demand for utility communication systems around the world.
Growth in renewable generation and distributed resources has led to the exponential development of utility communication systems. Along with renewable resource generation, smart cities projects around the globe are anticipated to garner increased adoption of utility communication during the forecast period. Majority of the countries in the world are focusing on the implementation of advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) which includes the installation of smart meters and other electronic devices that enable two-way communication and data transfer between end-users and utilities. Factors such as wrong billing, theft and fraud of power, late payments, and meter reading costs are influencing the shift from traditional metes to smart meters. These factors are anticipated to propel the demand for utility communication over the forecast period. However, the utility industry is a highly regulated industry and this is a major factor hindering the growth of this market.
The global utility communication market can be segmented based on technology type, utility type, and region. In terms of technology type, the market has been bifurcated into wired communication (power line carrier, optic fiber, Ethernet) and wireless communication (RF mesh, mobile network). Based on utility type, the market can be segmented into power generation, natural gas, water & sewage, and oilfield communication.
The global mobile utility communication market is segmented on the basis of regions into North America, South America, Europe, Asia Pacific, and Middle East & Africa. North America is expected to contribute major share in the utility communication market during the forecast period. Adoption rate of utility communication solutions in North America is comparatively high when compared with other regions. Asia Pacific is among the fastest growing markets for utility communications, owing to high demand for utility communications technologies in the region. Moreover, rising demand for smart grid and smart cities infrastructure in emerging countries such as China, Japan, and India are driving the market toward growth. Europe is expected to show significant growth in the utility communication market over the forecast period. South America and Middle East & Africa regions are also expected to contribute toward growth of the market.
Some of the major players active in the development of utility communication solutions include Cisco Systems, Inc., General Electric, Digi International, Inc., Siemens AG, Milsoft Utility Solutions, Inc., ABB, Ltd., Schneider Electric SE, Motorola Solutions, Inc., Omicron Electronics GmbH, and RAD Data Communications Ltd.
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