The Internet of Things (IoT) is growing fast, and there’s no slowing it down. By 2020, there will be 50 billion Internet-connected things, and those connections will be worth $1.3 trillion by 2019. And that’s got Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) and AT&T (NYSE:T) linked in an epic battle for control over the wireless waves that connect those devices. That’s probably why Verizon’s vice president of IoT Connected Solutions, Mark Bartolomeo, recently told FierceWireless that the carrier is seriously considering offering flat-rate, unlimited data plans for IoT connections next year.The new IoT plan would not only be Verizon’s only unlimited data plan (since it dropped its smartphone unlimited data plans five years ago), but it has the potential to significantly expand Verizon’s Internet of Things position against AT&T.
As I reflect on 2014, it has been a truly incredible year for the Connected Home market.
We got started with the epic $3.2 billion acquisition of Nest by Google, and there were several other mergers, acquisitions and well-funded startups.
Kickstarter and Indiegogo have been flooded with ideas and concepts for how we will – or should – live in a connected home.
If you’re familiar with that old saw about the Tower of Babel, you already know the key to the Smart Grid. It’s all about finding a common language for people and devices to talk to each other as quickly and efficiently as possible, from right across the room to thousands of miles away. Now throw renewable energy, distributed energy, mobile controls and real-time monitoring devices including data-driven thermostats and “smart meters,” advanced energy storage, and millions of electric vehicles into a landscape that was formerly a one-way street dominated by conventional power plants, and you know what the the Smart Grid really is: a beast of epic proportions.
Seeing as how the Texas climate these days is predisposed to extremes, the Public Utility Commission of Texas and the Electric Reliability Council of Texas passed a rule change last week they hope will prevent another epic, frozen February blackout or a grid driven to the brink by gawd-awful Texas heat.
We already use a system that works like this: Certain large customers whose load is a megawatt-hour or greater volunteer to have power curtailed during grid emergencies. It’s a way to ration electricity, and these volunteers are paid for their trouble. Problem is, committing a whole megawatt is tough for a business, especially when a voluntary outage can stretch for 28 hours, as they did during the great rolling blackout of 2011. It turned a lot of businesses off to the idea, ERCOT senior analyst Paul Wattles tells Unfair Park.
Duke Energy and Siemens Energy announced yesterday that they will provide $4.5 million and $4.3 million respectively to the Energy Production and Infrastructure Center (EPIC) at UNC Charlotte over a period of many years as the EPIC program develops.
The center will play a critical role in training new engineers and conducting research into energy technologies. The funds provided by the two companies will be used to recruit faculty in power engineering disciplines and provide engineering scholarships, advance research capabilities in smart grid and precision manufacturing as well as access to large-scale manufacturing equipment.