Smart grid innovation doesn’t always have to be about technology. Tendril’s Energy Services Management platform helps utilities and energy service providers better understand the uses and needs of their customers. The platform even uses gamifacation in the form of leader boards so one user’s usage can be compared to another. Tendril wants the platform to help “deliver the right message to the right customer, every time.”
9. Silver Springs Networks
Silver Springs Gen4 Communications Module is one of the leading smart grid platforms on the market. It offers cellular connectivity, the ability to form what Silver Springs calls Micromesh, high data rates, and the ability to automatically customize the amount of data usage within the network. Many of these features are unique to Silver Springs, making them a leader in energy smart grids.
Opwer’s innovative thermostat management system looks to change the way customers engage with their thermostats using smart grid connectivity. Based on a customer’s usage, utilities will let them know they’re eligible for a smart thermostat. Once they receive their thermostat, the customer can customize their usage to suit their needs. The customer’s utility will track their usage and make setting suggestions. These include savings figures for adjusting the thermostat. The thermostat’s app will also let the customer know what others are doing in terms of keeping costs down and will make suggestions on how they can proceed.
7. Schneider Electric
Using their “prosumer solution,” Schneider Electric aims to make controlling the smart grid from a business and homeowner standpoint much easier. Using customized software, “prosumers” can help with demand response programs, automate and manage their usage, and improve overall power reliability, making for a more stable grid with less price fluctuations.
The company’s PureWave UPS System offers uninterrupted power and operates with a reduced carbon footprint. It’s highly energy efficient and can be coordinated seamlessly with a backup generator. S&C claims to allow up to 60 seconds of power, enough for the company’s self-healing grid to work.
Siemens offers its SIGUARD suite of smart grid management tools in three separate forms, which can be used independently or in conjunction with one another. It offers it’s Dynamic Security Assessment (DSA), Protection Security Assessment (PSA), and Phasor Data Processor to ensure smart grids run safely, are protected, and produce data that can be analyzed and used to improve service and efficiency.
Itron is utilizing the smart grid to better implement electric vehicle charging station, which they hope to make more efficient and better suited to the needs of EV owners. The stations offer a wide host of analytic data that can be used to help improve and assess future needs and features. They’re also Wi-Fi enabled, making local access a breeze.
IBM tackles the smart grid from all angles. From people, to data, and of course security, IBM is a leader in the smart grid industry. In addition to patrolling the physical grid, IBM uses analytics to beef up smart grid security by using data and trends to indicate suspicious patterns that may be security breaches. IBM is thinking on a large scale and is working to provide support to make bigger grids a safe reality.
Cisco, like IBM, takes a very much multi-faceted approach to its smart grid operations. Its GridBlocks Architecture sets it apart from the pack, though. Cisco aims to make grid improvements in the short term that will effectively impact the long term. Their hope is to make grid technology more accessible and affordable, a key factor they see playing in to the success of the grid in the long term. They believe that moving in phases will help transform utilities over time.
ABB has a number innovative smart grid projects underway. Working around the world, ABB is helping implement smart grid technology for a wide swath of people. ABB is focused on not just grids, but smart cities. Using smart grid technology, ABB hopes to make energy monitoring and usage easier for residential and business customers. They essentially are aiming to take the smart grid beyond just the grid.