Pike Research: Satellite Needs to Get on the Smart Grid

[Satellite TODAY Insider 07-02-12] Satellite communications, VSAT and BGAN service providers may want to look into opportunities with smart grid utility end-users who are increasingly searching for applications that satellite is designed to support, according to a new Pike Research report published June 29.

   The study examines the economics and dynamics of satellite communications as it relates to smart grid deployments and high-demand applications, such as substation automation, distribution automation, advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) backhaul, remote monitoring, workforce mobility and communications network redundancy.
   Pike Research analysts said the smart grid sector could provide satellite with plenty of market-driving growth and opportunities and a healthy, competitive landscape for smart grid networking. The report also shows technology development prospects for VSAT and BGAN satellite services for substation and distribution automation and AMI backhaul.
   “Over the past several years, smart grid initiatives around the world have focused largely on the deployment of smart meters,” Pike Research said in the report. “These applications, however, are expected to bring dramatically improved operational efficiency to utilities as well as reliability to the grid. While substation and distribution sites in urban and suburban markets can be readily connected to the grid via existing terrestrial communications networks, in order to create a fully-automated, reliable grid, rural and remote sites must also be accommodated and backup systems need to be in place for critical sites.”
   The report included market forecasts for unit shipments and infrastructure and satellite service revenue, segmented by technology, application and world region, identifying a period of sustained growth through 2020. 
   Pike Analysts said that a number of technical satellite advances in latency, as well as a dramatic decline in pricing for both equipment and monthly service, will allow satellite communications to emerge as a viable and attractive means of connectivity for many smart grid applications.
   “This is particularly true as smart grid efforts move beyond developed, densely populated regions,” Pike Research said. “Numerous satellite service providers and equipment manufacturers are now aggressively pursuing the utility market, a trend which should further the reduction in satellite service and equipment pricing even as bandwidth and connection speeds improve.”

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