On Tuesday, Microsoft Corp and OSIsoft LCC, a manufacturer of real-time data infrastructure, released a survey showing a 25% increase in the number of utilities companies that have implemented smart-grid technology compared to last year. The survey also shows that 28% of companies surveyed are in the planning phase, but 24% still have not started adopting any smart-grid technology. However, 63% of participants expect their budgets for these technologies to increase over the next two or three years.
The survey by Microsoft (Redmond, Wash., USA) and OSIsoft (San Leandro, Calif., USA) polled 216 professionals within electric, gas and water utility industries around the world and highlights the challenges utilities face as they move from planning to actual smart-grid implementation. Nearly 20% of those surveyed said technical issues kept them from moving forward, which was a larger group than in last year's survey.
"This year's survey shows that more and more utilities companies are adding new devices to the grid and incorporating new data sets into their operational capabilities," says Jon C. Arnold, managing director for the Worldwide Power and Utilities Industry at Microsoft. "However, many of these same organizations are encountering significant interoperability and integration challenges. Leveraging technology and architectures that are adaptable removes many of the technology risks."
When asked how they are addressing the big data challenge to the smart grid,  nearly one quarter of surveyed companies referenced the importance of business intelligence solutions. Business intelligence tools and systems are critical to managing and analyzing large amounts of data, which in turn enables companies to make smarter and more proactive business decisions based on actionable information.