IoT In The Energy Sector
The largest machine ever constructed by mankind and widely used is the internet. New ways to evolve the internet are deployed in real-time daily, with AI chatbots and machine learning dominating the current 2023 agenda. But that comes at a cost. Now more than ever, many businesses are seeking ways to reduce their rising bills. The projected value of the global Internet of Things (IoT) in the energy market is expected to grow by 11.8% from 2020 to 2025. As the largest consumer of energy globally, the internet and IoT technologies could be one of the best (and most unexpected) ways to save money, time, and energy simultaneously.
The Internet of Things explained
IoT is a term used to describe all devices capable of connecting to the internet through sensors and software, which can transmit and share data. It doesn’t just refer to computers, phones and tablets, though - anything can fall under the IoT umbrella, like smart speakers, smartwatches, refrigerators and radiators. IoT devices and sensors can give businesses access to a new range of analytics and data, helping them keep track of their assets, improve safety, and much more. In its latest Global IoT Market Forecast, IoT Analytics Research predicted there will be around 27 billion active IoT connections by 2025, so the use of the technology won’t be slowing down anytime soon.
Keep track of energy use
Using IoT-enabled sensors, you can keep track of everything happening in your business - the more information you have, the more you can control. Used to track energy consumption and get real-time reports, you can collect data like what time of day you are using too much power, so you can deal with it straight away rather than waiting for those costly bills. Smart meters, which many people have in their homes and offices, allow people to monitor their energy use and help the energy sector be more transparent at the same time.
Building automation and compliance
IoT sensors can be used to automate the operation of building systems, such as lighting, heating, and cooling, based on occupancy patterns and energy consumption - helping to reduce energy costs and improve safety for occupants. An instance where this was left unmonitored is that of 2-year-old Awaab Ishak who tragically died from a respiratory condition caused by the mould in his flat in December 2020, which triggered the Government to make amendments to the Social Housing Regulation Bill.
Now, social housing, care homes for the elderly, and landlords will be held accountable by law if they fail to provide adequate living conditions. Inexpensive IoT sensors and gateways provide opportunities to proactively monitor parameters such as ambient temperature and humidity, dew point, air quality, dust, mould, smoke detection, air quality and much more - further amplifying the role of IoT in building automation.
Reducing energy consumption
One of the biggest benefits of cloud computing, which is rarely mentioned, is how environmentally friendly it can be. In fact, cloud computing data centres use less power than private data centres and produce fewer carbon emissions - you can find out more about cloud computing’s green credentials by reading one of our latest blogs. By migrating to the cloud, you can use less power, help save the planet and save money, too. At FluidOne, we offer cloud hosting services for businesses looking to securely store their data. Since it’s not stored on-site, you’re not paying to keep the servers turned on all day long, and you can access your files 24/7.
As well as migrating to the cloud, IoT sensors can be used to monitor and manage energy consumption in real-time, such as with Siemens’ ‘Siemens Navigator’ which uses IoT to collect data on energy usage from various building systems. Demonstrated with Deutsche Bank in Frankfurt, Germany, HVAC system data were analysed using IoT technology to identify areas where energy could be saved. By implementing a few changes, the bank reduced its energy consumption by 20% for a significant cost saving and reduced carbon footprint.
Making predictive repairs
In the energy sector, one of the biggest uses of IoT is in preventing unnecessary downtime. IoT sensors can be used to keep track of the health and condition of equipment, machinery, and other assets, and send out alerts if any issues arise, so you can make predictive repairs. If machinery fails and needs replacing, this can not only result in disruption and downtime but incur huge costs, too.
Using IoT in this way can extend the lifespan of your assets - take General Electric's (GE) Power's Digital Power Plant, for example. Using machine learning and predictive analysis, Digital Power Plant uses real-time data to identify patterns and anomalies that could indicate potential equipment failures. Identifying a problem with a gas turbine at a power plant in France, the IoT-enabled software platform detected an increase in vibration levels, which could have led to a failure of the turbine if not detected sooner. Data analysis meant they could pinpoint the problem and notify the plant’s maintenance team to organise a replacement before it failed.
In this instance, IoT is particularly useful to the energy sector as broken equipment could cause power cuts and blackouts, and with analytics, businesses can prevent disasters like this from happening. Using past data, businesses are better placed to forecast any natural or manmade disasters and plan how best to respond to them, getting the energy grid up and running as fast as possible. Here at FluidOne, we offer disaster recovery solutions - after all, even a few minutes of downtime can be destructive to a company. In the event of a power cut, our customers don’t worry about losing any sensitive data - our cloud backup systems will ensure their files are kept safe, secure, and easy for them to access.