Smart-grid optimism falls in December: Zpryme survey

Smart-grid sentiment decreased slightly in December, according to the latest monthly survey of smart-grid executives by Zpryme Research & Consulting, with just 66% of executives holding a positive view about the industry compared with 71% in November.

The decrease was largely down to growing gloom among vendors who participated in the survey, with 70% saying they had a positive view compared with 78% in November.

Utilities, meanwhile, were more optimistic than a month earlier – 67% of those questioned held a positive view compared with 60% in November.

Itron consortium wins $150 million smart-meter deal in South Africa

A consortium involving the Edison Power Group, South Africa’s largest electrical contracting company, and smart-meter specialist Itron has won a $150 million contract to roll out smart-metering technology in Johannesburg.

In what Itron (Liberty Lake, USA) describes as Africa’s first large-scale smart-metering project, the companies will provide support to City Power (Johannesburg, South Africa), a utility company in Johannesburg, by improving service delivery and efficiency through network automation.

Utilities to spend $20.6 billion on smart-grid analytics to 2020

Utility companies deploying smart-grid analytics can expect to realize a return of $121.8 billion on investments of $20.6 billion made between 2012 and 2020, according to new research from Greentech Media.

According to the market-research company, with the introduction of ‘big data’ and analytics, smart-grid technology has the potential to completely re-invent the utility business – instead of just adding “a myriad of new applications”.

Ericsson to provide in-car technology to Volvo

Telecoms equipment maker Ericsson is to provide its connected-car technology for use in new vehicles being made by Volvo.

The vendor’s “Connected Vehicle Cloud” will allow drivers and passengers to access cloud applications for information, navigation and entertainment using a screen in the car.

Ericsson (Stockholm, Sweden) says that Volvo (Torslanda, Sweden) will be able to open up parts of the platform to other players in the automotive industry, including internet radio providers, road authorities, cities’ governments and toll-road operators.

Belgacom picks KORE Systems for M2M services platform

Belgian telecoms incumbent Belgacom has chosen an M2M software platform from KORE Systems as the basis for its M2M services.

The KORE Systems (Toronto, Canada) platform is to be integrated with Belgacom’s mobile network and business systems and customized to meet the operator’s specific needs.

Belgacom (Brussels, Belgium) says the platform will improve its M2M service offering, giving customers greater management over devices, from network usage and billing to repairs.

Technicolor partners with Swisscom on smart-homes service

Imaging specialist Technicolor is to provide a home automation tablet for use with Swisscom’s smart-homes service.

The Swiss telecoms incumbent has launched what it calls a “smart secure living offering” under the brand of “Quing Home”, allowing customers to control security, automation and energy management through a managed tablet or smartphone application.

Technicolor’s MediaTouch HomePilot tablet is now being positioned by the companies as “the ideal home automation hub for the connected home”.

Automotive and health to fuel M2M growth in 2013, says Deutsche Telekom

The automotive industry will continue to fuel M2M growth in Europe next year, while in the US the health sector will be the main M2M spur.

These are the predictions of German telecoms incumbent Deutsche Telekom (Bonn, Germany), which has put M2M at the heart of its growth strategy.

According to Jurgen Hase, the vice president of Deutsche Telekom’s M2M Competence Center, a mixture of competition and regulation will aid M2M players targeting the European automotive industry.

Japan's NTT DoCoMo launches global M2M platform

NTT DoCoMo is making an international push into the M2M industry, claiming it is the first operator in Japan to launch a global enterprise platform for wireless M2M systems.

The operator, Japan’s largest, has introduced a new service called “docomo M2M platform” that it claims will provide M2M support in more than 200 countries.

It allows corporate customers to manage M2M applications through a unified Web interface.

Smart-grid cyber-security sales to exceed $600 million in 2020

Sales of cyber security products for smart grid industrial control systems (ICS) are set to exceed $600 million in 2020, up from $369 million this year, as “the cost of complacency becomes more apparent”.

Such is the headline finding of a new study by Pike Research, which predicts an increase in cyber-security deployments over the next two years as utilities grow better informed about cyber risks to grids and substations.

Alcatel Lucent aims to smarten up the grid

Alcatel Lucent is claiming that utility companies can smarten up their grids by using its network technology in infrastructure that lies closer to residential and business premises.

The vendor notes that many utility companies have been upgrading their systems to include IP/MPLS technology, which promises superior speeds, bandwidth, reliability and service capabilities than older systems.

Until now, though, IP/MPLS has been confined to the transmission and sub-transmission layers of the power grid, which handle the distribution of energy from power stations to substations.

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