According to the Edison Foundation, in the U.S. alone there are over 46 million smart meters installed as of July 2013.
At a read rate of 24 per day, this equals to about 1.1 billion data points per day, or just north of 400 billion per year.
What to do with all this data?
Greentechmedia reports that at the recent Soft Grid 2013 conference, several views were shared:
This is the beginning of a very long evolution that may or may not end in our lifetimes
– Josh Gerber, smart grid manager for San Diego Gas & Electric
You have to reach out to those customers and give them something that interests them
– Scott Young, senior director of software platforms for Silver Spring Networks
Other examples that I quote from the greentechmedia article include:
- analyze household power usage data to help customers learn where they’re wasting energy, how different appliances are affecting their usage, and the like — in other words, to turn utilities into “trusted energy advisors” to their customers.
- predict individual customers’ likelihood to want to sign up for load curtailment programs (demand response), or perhaps install solar panels on their property.
- pairing third-party information of the kind you might get from the retail and customer service bid data world with the usage details … from their meters
This is a new scale of data, and extracting valuable insights will require thoughtful pairing of user needs with technological capabilities to create compelling new services. In other words, turning data into information and knowledge for better decision making. It can’t happen fast enough.