IoT Blog
IoT Blog

Utility Week Events Top Takeaway: Simplifying the Transition to Smart Energy

by Olivier Amiot, Director of Marketing, Energy

At this year’s Australian Utility Week in Sydney and European Utility Week in Barcelona, the discussions at our booth and the issues raised in panel sessions made it clear that the Internet of Things (IoT) continues to be a critical topic in Europe’s utility and energy sector.

People were talking about the arrival of Low Power Wide Area cellular, known as LPWA, which is expected to help drive the transition to IoT models, especially for applications in water infrastructure or metering for more sustainable use of this natural resource. At the same time, though, we heard a lot about the need to make it easier, simpler, and more cost-effective to adopt IoT technology and provide information to customers seamlessly.

At AUW, the key opening sessions about IoT, innovation and utility, which brought together experts from Utilities (Mojo Power, Melbourne Water, AGL Energy) and industry (Cisco Australia, Simply Energy), highlighted the benefits of IoT technology, the need for simpler solutions that can be customized for consumer needs. We heard a similar theme during the closing panel, which discussed the “Future of AMI and Customer Choice in a Connected Customer World”. There were several references to the importance of platforms and ecosystems, but also to the new regulation in Australia to be mandated, which will reduce deployment complexity, make it easier to implement new business models, and provide better customer service.

Similarly at EUW, a panel discussion about smart meters, which brought together experts from Italy (Enel), France (GRDF), Spain (Gas Natural Fenosa), and Ireland (ESB), highlighted the pain points associated with smart-meter deployments We heard that theme again during the closing panel, which discussed the “Challenges and Realities of Trying to Finance the Infrastructure to Support the Energy Future."

The idea that we need to simplify the transition to smart energy is something we at Sierra Wireless have been working on for some time, and it was a central part of our presence at both events. Here are some highlights:

Unlocking Market Potential: LPWA Modules
We agree that LPWA, with its ability to extend battery life and lower the total cost of ownership, promises to accelerate IoT adoption. We’ve introduced a family of low-cost, low-power LPWA modules, designed to address the most relevant customer applications. The modules require very little energy to run, so they extend battery life, and simplify the implementation by supporting both LTE network formats, Cat-M1 and Cat-NB1. The result is a faster deployment, with a lower total cost of ownership.

Establishing the Right Foundation: AirVantage IoT Platform + Smart SIMs

We’re continuing to build on the momentum created by our AirVantage® IoT Platform, a complete solution that gives utility companies worldwide a fast, effective way to deploy IoT applications. The AirVantage IoT Platform provides all the infrastructure needed to create, deploy, and manage a sophisticated IoT deployment with over-the-air (OTA) management and upgrades for cost-effective maintenance. An important part of the AirVantage IoT Platform is the connectivity capabilities of the Smart SIM, the first SIM designed specifically for the IoT. The Smart SIM is operator-agnostic and makes it easier for IoT devices to do what they need to do, with the broadest possible coverage and the highest data Quality of Service (QoS).

Future-Proofing the Deployment: Smart SIMs with eUICC

The majority of IoT devices used in the utility sector will stay in the field for years, even decades. A lot can happen in that time, and it’s important to minimize the impact of making changes or upgrading functionality. Our new Smart SIM with eUICC capability makes it possible to modify the SIM remotely, with OTA updates. The OTA capability makes it much easier to manage and maintain the devices themselves but, perhaps even more important, from a cost and simplicity standpoint, eUICC essentially eliminates being locked into MNO contracts and having to roll trucks to change SIMs.

Moving Ahead: 5 Steps to the IoT

As a follow-on to Utility Week, and to help utility companies move toward the IoT, we’re offering a white paper that outlines the five essential steps to get you prepared. Download a copy of “The Internet of Things Opens Utilities to New Business Models,” here.

To learn more about Sierra Wireless’ approach to IoT applications in the utility sector, visit www.sierrawireless.com or contact your local Sierra Wireless sales office.