A network of physical devices and objects connected to the internet over a wireless platform that is able to share and receive signals constitute the crux of the concept - the Internet of Things.
The internet is omnipresent in our lives now that even our daily lives somehow rely on internet connectivity. From switching on air conditioners back at our homes to playing songs, the internet has enabled a versatile range of objects to stay connected to each other without the need for human interruption.
That said, wireless connectivity is a major highlight of this concept as it does not need human assistance for its routine operations. From automation to the energy sector, the applications of IoT in daily life have revolutionized our lives in ways that we could not think of otherwise.
Therefore, it is imperative to say that IoT has vast benefits, and it is an ever-evolving field.
(Must Read - What is Internet of Things?)
Uses of IoT in the Energy Sector
The energy sector is a primary sector that supports electricity production, transport of goods, and many other basic activities that humans cannot do without.
That said, IoT in the energy market has entered the realm of energy production and consumption and has elaborated the way this sector operates.
Let us discover the top uses of IoT in the energy sector.
Optimization of Energy Resources
One of the biggest applications of IoT in the Energy sector is that it facilitates the optimization of renewable energy resources.
By placing smart monitors that automatically control the room temperature of a factory, hall, or even a room, energy consumers can optimize and potentially reduce the amount of energy that they consume.
What’s more, businesses and organizations can also place smart sensors in buildings in order to switch off/on energy consumption based on the occupancy of a room or a building.
This particular application is very beneficial for the energy sector as it not only saves massive amounts of energy from being radically wasted but also makes the whole sector connected through the internet for better operations in the longer run.
Even though mass drives for energy consumption are on the rise, it is not sufficient enough to control the way humans consume energy. Perhaps an internet-controlled network of energy devices in industrial and commercial properties is the key to answering such problems.
Moreover, it is undoubtedly a much-potent way of saving energy and investing it in places only where it is to be used.
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However, reducing the energy footprint is just not enough for bringing in IoT in this sector. Perhaps smarter energy grids must be brought in to justify the power that IoT has.
In the energy sector, smart grids refer to a network of electric circuits that support a two-way energy flow and have a self-healing capacity for maintenance issues.
That said, one of the features of smart grids is that they also enable energy consumers to become active participants as the leftover energy is sent back to its source. This way the end-user circuit gets completed as it livens up for smart consumption.
Yet, smart grids are way ahead of what is happening right now. One of the most innovative applications of IoT in this field, smart grids are the future. Currently, microgrids are a thing that has gained much popularity in recent times. Microgrids are self-sufficient energy networks that either work on island mode or grid mode.
Let us understand this with an example. Suppose, a residential area comprising 10 houses is developed into a microgrid with each house connected to this grid.
Now, these houses have solar panels on their respective roofs that enable them to self-produce energy for their own use. However, it is possible that the amount of energy one house produces is more than the amount it actually consumes. This means that the leftover energy gets wasted. However, this is not the case in microgrids.
When working in a grid mode, houses can distribute energy to grids that can then be used by other entities for their personal usage. If in case, the houses do not wish to distribute energy, their energy circuits can be automatically broken off with the help of Internet of Things.
This is the magic of IoT! Not only do microgrids and smart grids save energy but these methods also help to direct energy wherever required.
(Also read: Examples of IoT)
Predictive Protocols for Disasters
Another one of the biggest uses of IoT in the energy sector is that it can employ predictive protocols for disasters and in a way, can raise significant alarms.
By using past data to develop predictive patterns and forecast manmade or natural disasters, the energy sector can place smart sensors that can regulate energy consumption, distribution, and management.
Being an essential commodity of our lives, energy cannot be done away with. However, as past calamities have shown, energy management patterns can be regulated if the warning is received beforehand.
(Recommended blog: IoT in disaster management)
Perhaps this is one of the greatest benefits that the energy sector can gain from the use of IoT in this field. It is not just about forecasting disasters or any unusual circumstances. But, it is also about foreseeing such situations that can help disaster management teams to prepare the masses on time.
“They can also use data to create prediction models, allowing them to not only better understand how events might play out, but also create proper responses to those situations. It results in higher sustainability and improved disaster preparedness.” IoT in the Energy Industry
Smart Meter Technology
Next up, IoT applications in smart energy can also be used in the energy sector by bringing in smart meter technology.
Referring to the measurement and analysis of energy consumption by a particular household, building, or organization, the smart meter installation technology can help one analyze the areas where the energy is spent the most and the places where energy can be conserved substantially.
That said, IoT-enabled smart meters can be placed in houses and buildings which will only help customers receive a detailed report of their energy consumption patterns.
Moreover, it will also help them to detect loopholes, and eventually, the smart meter technology will make the energy sector more efficient and transparent in terms of its functioning.
In addition, smart meters support two-way communication between utility companies and consumers that automatically establishes a connection between these two entities.
In order to put together IoT with this sector, it is important for humans to understand the wonders that it can do in order to save energy consumption and drive it towards better consumption and conservation patterns.
(Suggested blog: IoT applications in real estate)
Proactive Repair Mechanism
The last of all benefits of IoT in the energy sector is the most interesting application. How? Well, let us discover it in this segment.
The energy sector has an abundance of wires and networks that support energy flow and facilitate consumption from one end to the other. Yet, what goes wrong in between these vast networks remains unknown to the energy officials and representatives for months and days.
However, ever since the IoT technology has joined hands with the energy sector, it is now possible to identify loopholes in an energy circuit, alert the officials, and address repairing work at the earliest.
IoT in the energy sector perhaps is a way to install a proactive repair mechanism that sends off alarms and warning signs, in case a circuit is broken or equipment requires maintenance.
This particular application has been proven to save substantial maintenance costs in the sector and is a rapid system of addressing problems.
Unlike earlier when the energy circuits couldn’t be repaired before a week or so, the contemporary smart circuits are fully capable of alarming the energy maintenance booths about the repairing work.
What’s more, smart circuits that support energy flow are also capable of self-healing, thus negating the need for any human interference at all.
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Future of IoT in the Energy Sector
As we have seen, the energy sector can gain lots of benefits from IoT technology. Even in the past, the sector has been highly automated which only made its functioning better.
However, recent times have suggested that the energy sector can gain a lot more in the future ahead. With the coming up of smart meters across smart cities, the energy sector can optimize its operations with better consumption.
“Companies involved in transportation, pipelines and storage will be able to create a safer, more robust network with fewer leaks by creating more data-rich infrastructure. Refiners and retailers will benefit from having greater visibility over their supply chain and being better able to target consumers”
Future of IoT in Energy Industry
Therefore, from one end to the other, the chain of the energy sector can be automated with the help of internet devices and this can eventually benefit both energy providers and consumers.
From cutting down maintenance costs to upscaling production methods, the energy sector can beat the unbeatable with the help of IoT.