According to Zpryme, a organisation that conducts smart grid research for the the corporate sector, the American market for smart grid network management systems is projected to grow from an investment level of $225 million in 2012 to $1.05 billion in 2020.
The report represents an annual growth rate of 21 percent by the end of the decade.
There are over 30 million smart meters currently installed in the U.S. that focus on the management and control of electricity consumption by consumers and businesses. Electricity is no longer the sole priority for smart grids and management systems, as the use of such technology has expanded to communicative networks, Wi-Fi and transmission controls.
Andres Carvallo EVP and Chief Strategy Officer at Proximetry explained:
"The significant number of renewables, electric vehicles and energy storage devices to be deployed into the near future introduces new complexity and a multitude of networking technologies, protocols, and standards to manage them all."
As new smart grid developments are made, it is becoming increasingly important for sophisticated and secure management systems to be integrated in order to control and maintain such grids -- otherwise, outages do not only effect consumers, but can impact the economy if businesses also experience such failures.
The report suggests the network management system market will evolve rapidly over the next five years, and expand to include the widening variety of use that smart grids are now being tested for -- from monitoring individual health to controlling the water, transport and energy infrastructures of urban areas.
According to a recent report, expenditure on smart grid technology will increase on a global level -- surging 17.4 percent from 2010 to 2015 -- whereas overall spending will reach $46.4 billion. If this forecast proves true, then not only will infrastructure changes have to consider the cost of implementing such technology, but also the cost of implementing and training staff in control systems -- and keeping it secure.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) recently stated it has seen a surge in smart meter 'hacks' which allow consumers to cut expensive power bills through the use of household items including magnets combined with a little software knowledge.
Even though smart grid technology is becoming sophisticated and innovative at a record pace, many have warned that unless enough investment is placed in the management and security of such systems -- from the basic household meter upwards -- then efficiency and protection for both the business and consumer will suffer.
Image credit: Zpryme