Tom Ranken: Prospects for the Smart Grid Sector

Our friend, Evan Scandling of APCO Worldwide, has commented on a recent lunch that we organized to discuss the prospects for the smart grid sector.  It was a very thought provoking discussion and Evan has done a nice job summarizing his thoughts.  Here are a few others from my notes:

  • I was struck by the real world impact that these innovations are having at Microsoft.  Darrell Smith of Microsoft talked about how they are now able to proactively manage potential problems in their massive facilities.  They are endeavoring to process a half billion data points every twenty-four hours.  Microsoft’s efforts are “all about productivity” and they generate a payback time of 18 months–in the nation’s third cheapest electricity market.
  • It was clear from this discussion that this sector is still in its infancy with the potential yet to be realized.  Besides the complexities of software design, integration of systems, understanding the data, and reacting to it are complex problems.  They will be solved and that may well create robust smart grid business opportunities.