As grid operators deploy smart grid technology to create a greener, more efficient, and more reliable power system, communications networks are expanding rapidly and in new ways. With demand increasing, the market for smart grid networking and communications technology is being driven by a growing number of competitors with a widening range of solutions and equipment. According to Navigant Research, worldwide revenues for smart grid communications networking hardware are expected to reach US$3.2 billion annually by 2020, before leveling off in subsequent years.
"The smart grid continues to mature, and communications technologies are also evolving in response," said Richelle Elberg, senior research analyst with Navigant Research. "Whereas five years ago vendors and utilities were consumed with simply enabling grid communications, today they are focused on technology that is anticipated to enable a truly integrated system that links existing legacy technology with new technology from a variety of vendors."
At the same time, the need for security in these networks has never been greater, as the increased connectivity of critical grid infrastructure creates potential vulnerabilities in a time when cyber-hacking is a growing threat worldwide. A push for interoperability and standardization, particularly around Internet Protocol, will likely help vendors offer robust, highly secure solutions, the firm said.
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