Cellular nodes for smart grids set to boom: Navigant Research

Annual revenue generated from the sale of public cellular communications nodes for smart grid applications will rise from $75.4 million in 2013 to $348.3 million in 2018, according to the latest study from Navigant Research.

While utilities have numerous communications options for connecting nodes on the power grid – including fiber, copper leased line networks and power line communications – there has been an upsurge of interest in the use of cellular networks in recent years.

Annual revenue generated from the sale of public cellular communications nodes for smart grid applications will rise from $75.4 million in 2013 to $348.3 million in 2018, according to the latest study from Navigant Research.

While utilities have numerous communications options for connecting nodes on the power grid – including fiber, copper leased line networks and power line communications – there has been an upsurge of interest in the use of cellular networks in recent years.

“The ubiquitous network coverage and significantly improved reliability and security of public cellular networks make them an increasingly attractive option for smart grid communications,” said Richelle Elberg, senior research analyst with Navigant.

“More smart grid communications vendors are adopting cellular-based solutions, preferring to be technology agnostic rather than rely on just one or two communication platforms,” added Elberg.

Utilities in North America are expected by Navigant to turn to cellular networks in increasing numbers, but those in other parts of the world – including the UK and Japan – are also forecast to drive the use of cellular in smart grids.

In August 2013, for instance, Spain’s Telefonica (Madrid) secured a major contract to provide communications infrastructure in the central and southern regions of the UK, where 50 million smart meters are to be rolled out between 2013 and 2020.

The UK deployment is expected to provide a major boost to the market for cellular communications for smart grids, says Navigant.