Satcom market for smart grid applications to reach $370 million by 2020

by Staff Reporter | July 4th, 2012

According to a new report from Pike Research, revenue from satellite services and equipment for smart grid applications will reach $368 million by 2020, increasing from just under $67 million in 2012.

At 600 milliseconds, round-trip, satellite communications latency today is adequate for most smart grid applications and compares favourably with many terrestrial options

“Satellite-based communications have historically been a last resort for grid operators, mostly for remote substation connectivity,” says vice president Bob Gohn. “But improved cost and performance is allowing satellite communications to be used in an increasing number of grid applications, enabling a tripling of forecasted equipment revenue over the next eight years, with even higher service revenue growth. Though satellite-based systems will remain a niche technology compared with terrestrial options, utilities will increasingly consider them in their list of communications options.”

Many utility executives remain wary of using satellites for critical smart grid applications because of concerns over latency, interoperability, security, and bandwidth efficiency. Pike Research’s analysis, however, indicates that many of these concerns are based on outdated perceptions. New technology and product offerings have addressed many of the cost, performance, and reliability challenges associated with earlier systems.

At 600 milliseconds, round-trip, satellite communications latency today is adequate for most smart grid applications and compares favourably with many terrestrial options. And data rate options of up to several megabits per second (Mbps) are commonplace, while planned systems may even be faster than some cable or 4G broadband services today.

Pike Research’s report, “Satellite Communications for Smart Grid Applications”, examines the economics and dynamics of satellite communications as it relates to smart grid deployments. The study provides an in-depth examination of market drivers, technology issues and standards, and the competitive landscape for smart grid networking. Detailed market forecasts are included for unit shipments and infrastructure and satellite service revenue, segmented by technology, application, and world region, through 2020.

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