Satellite Technology Feature Article
Pike Research Sees Revenue Spike in Satellite Communications for Smart Grids
By Tracey E. Schelmetic, TMCnet Contributor
While the smart grid market continues to experience growth in the U.S., one element of it, smart grid connectivity via satellite communications, will experience particularly robust growth, according to new research.
Pike Research (News - Alert), which released the report entitled, "Satellite Communications for Smart Grid Applications," found that revenue from satellite services and equipment for smart grid applications will reach $368 million by 2020, increasing from just under $67 million in 2012. The research company attributes a number of reasons for this, including technology advances and a dramatic decline in the price of equipment and monthly services.
Satellite communications are emerging as a viable and attractive means of connectivity for many smart grid applications, including substation automation (SA), distribution automation (DA), advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) backhaul, remote monitoring, and mobile workforce applications. Numerous satellite service providers and equipment manufacturers are now aggressively pursuing the utility market, a trend that should further reduce the cost of satellite service and equipment even as bandwidth and connection speeds improve.
"Satellite-based communications have historically been a last resort for grid operators, mostly for remote substation connectivity," said Pike Research vice president Bob Gohn in a press release
Pike Research notes that in the past, negative perceptions of satellite-based smart grid connectivity held the industry back. Even today, many utility executives remain wary of using satellites for critical smart grid applications because of concerns over latency, interoperability, security, and bandwidth efficiency. These perceptions are based on outdated technology, according to Pike.
New technology and product offerings have addressed many of the cost, performance, and reliability challenges associated with earlier systems, said the research group. At 600 milliseconds, round-trip satellite communications latency today is adequate for most smart grid applications and compares favorably with many terrestrial options. And data rate options of up to several megabits per second (Mbps) are commonplace, while planned systems may even be faster than some cable or 4G broadband services today.
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Stay in touch with everything happening at ITEXPO. Follow us on Twitter.. "But improved cost and performance is allowing satellite communications to be used in an increasing number of grid applications, enabling a tripling of forecasted equipment revenue over the next eight years, with even higher service revenue growth. Though satellite-based systems will remain a niche technology compared with terrestrial options, utilities will increasingly consider them in their list of communications options," said Gohn.
Edited by Rachel Ramsey