Internet of Things (IoT)

The Internet was established to transfer files and share information between local area networks – therefore it can be understood as the Internet of People. Up until now, vast parts of the world’s citizens have access to a more or less restricted World Wide Web. The Internet of Things (IoT) approach elaborates the idea of connectivity not only people but also technical devices and equipment. This kind of system allows data transfer and analysis without human-to-human and human-to-computer interactions. This approach shows high potential in transportation, health care, manufacturing and smart buildings.

Technology Types

Within IoT, a set of hardware is used to communicate and interact with other devices in a controlled network. Hence, the communication part is of high importance; which can be wire-based or wireless.

Several communication standards are available for the time being:

  • LTE or 5G for real-time applications within factories or autonomous mobility.
  • Bluetooth for short length of transfer.
  • Ethernet, ModBus, etc... for industrial applications.

Components & enablers

In general, the IoT architecture can be divided into three layers – perception layer, network layer and application layer.

The major components in such a system are:

  • Smart devices and sensors to gathered data and transfer it;
  • Gateways to manage data traffic and adapt protocol;
  • A Cloud storage to stack data;
  • Software solutions to analyse data and produce content out of derived information;
  • User interfaces to allow users to have access and control the network.

Advantages & field of application

A system of interconnected physical objects and devices offers opportunities e.g. to increase productivity in manufacturing or optimize power flow and consumption in heavy industries.

In power systems and grid infrastructure, a useful adaption must be discussed to evaluate best practices for a TSO’s core business.

Technology Readiness Level

TRL Score 7 – prototype in demonstration

Research & Development

Several IoT solutions are already introduced to the markets, provided by big companies like from IT or energy, but multiple small companies and start-ups are also involved in offering products for Power System Operators.

Best practice performance

Simple “IoT systems” are already used in transmission systems nowadays to monitor and control their operation. More advanced IoT is now used in the Fingrid´s grid where IBM´s IoT system Watson is used to increase automation of the system. There are high expectations from application in distribution grids which have previously been passive and IoT would allow them to implement distributed generation, DMS and other services increasing the efficiency, ecology, and economy of such systems. It ranges from flow monitoring on the LV lines to consumption monitoring at the consumers´ side of the system. Such systems are already being researched by DSOs and other institutions involved.

Best practice application