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By Jesse Berst
IDC Energy Insights is one of our sector's top research firms. Each year it issues its top 10 predictions for energy and utilities. I attended this year's webinar and came away with my own version, which I've shared with you below.
I want to emphasize that my version overlaps with IDC's but is not precisely the same. These are my interpretations and reactions to IDC's predictions. In many areas I agree with IDC. In a few others, I feel they may have over- or under-stated the issue. Case in point: I list only nine predictions and they are not all the same as the ones IDC chose to highlight.
To see the "official" top 10 list, go to the link below, scroll down until you see the list of web conferences, and click on Energy - Utilities. You can replay the webinar and/or download the slides.
IDC Insights Predictions 2012
1. Utility mergers will accelerate.
2. Demand will flatten or even fall. After decades of sure, steady growth, consumption growth in North America has flattened and may begin to fall after 2012. This could force a difficult adjustment in an industry that has come to expect growth in consumption.
3. Municipals and co-ops will drive new AMI deployments. Their focus will be communications networks that can handle next territories (urban and rural). And that can handle multiple applications for multi-utilities (electric, gas, water).
4. Distribution automation spending will continue to accelerate thanks in part to short payback periods (18 to 36 months typically).
5. Utilities will invest heavily in analytics to manage Big Data. Utilities are getting large volumes of data from smart meters. Now they're trying to figure out how to get business value from that information. And how to use it for "real-time" trading and "real-time" operations.
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