Big data-networking mashup aims for smarter energy management

Summary:Silver Spring Networks and startup Autogrid will mix mesh networking and cloud-based software with big data analytics to help utilities manage energy better.

Smart grid networking company Silver Spring Networks has partnered with big data analytics startup AutoGrid to develop a product to help utilities better deploy energy saving programs.

Under the partnership, the two companies will develop the so-called Silver Spring UtilityIQ Demand Optimizer solution, a product that essentially combines Autogrid's tech with Silver Spring Networks' networking platform. The resulting mashup should help utilities execute demand response management programs faster and cheaper than before.

As Autogrid explains it, utilities want to reduce electricity costs and improve the grid's reliability by taking advantage of energy savings programs like demand side management technologies. But the cost of implementing and managing these programs has been the primary challenge. The companies say they're able to reduce the time, cost and risk of applying demand response by folding Autogrid's tech into Silver Spring's networking platform on the front end.

Oklahoma Gas & Electric, which already uses Silver Spring's networking platform to connect 42,000 smart meters in its service area, will be the first utility to use the Utility Demand Optimizer solution.

I wrote about Autogrid last year after it unveiled an energy data software platform it says can help utilities and consumers track and curb power use, reduce waste, balance the grid, improve system operations and even predict future consumption.

AutoGrid is able to give the "smart grid" a brain by using big data analytics--similar to the recommendation engines used on e-commerce sites like Amazon or algorithms for predicting weather--to help utilities, grid operators and consumers harness that data and put it to work. Autogrid aims to turn that data into actionable intelligence through service like grid optimizations and predictive applications.

Photo: Flickr user Gabriel Allon

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

Topics: Innovation

About

Kirsten Korosec has written for Technology Review, Marketing News, The Hill, BNET and Bloomberg News. She holds a degree from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism. She is based in Tucson, Arizona. Follow her on Twitter.

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