The technology industry continues to be a hotbed of innovation, with a growing emphasis on environmental sustainability. This is reflected in efforts to decrease greenhouse gas emissions, limit waste and pollution, conserve natural resources, foster biodiversity, and promote sustainable economic development, and growing importance of technologies such as advanced metering infrastructure, data analytics and meter data management systems, grid sensors and monitoring devices, and demand response systems. By leveraging these technologies, smart grid metering enables utilities to have real-time visibility into energy consumption, improve grid efficiency, optimise load management, integrate renewable resources, and provide consumers with more control over their energy usage. In the last three years alone, there have been over 3.6 million patents filed and granted in the technology industry, according to GlobalData’s report on Innovation in Environmental Sustainability: Smart grid metering. Buy the report here.
However, not all innovations are equal and nor do they follow a constant upward trend. Instead, their evolution takes the form of an S-shaped curve that reflects their typical lifecycle from early emergence to accelerating adoption, before finally stabilising and reaching maturity.
Identifying where a particular innovation is on this journey, especially those that are in the emerging and accelerating stages, is essential for understanding their current level of adoption and the likely future trajectory and impact they will have.
300+ innovations will shape the technology industry
According to GlobalData’s Technology Foresights, which plots the S-curve for the technology industry using innovation intensity models built on over 2.5 million patents, there are 300+ innovation areas that will shape the future of the industry.
Within the emerging innovation stage, environmental sensors, smart grid monitoring system, and EV battery management systems are disruptive technologies that are in the early stages of application and should be tracked closely. Waste management systems, engine exhaust control systems, and hybrid solar are some of the accelerating innovation areas, where adoption has been steadily increasing. Among maturing innovation areas are, energy trading platforms, EV charging metering automation and smart grid metering, which are now well established in the industry.
Innovation S-curve for environmental sustainability in the technology industry
Smart grid metering is a key innovation area in environmental sustainability
Smart grid metering refers to an advanced digital system that employs cutting-edge technology to measure the electricity consumption of residential and commercial establishments. Its primary objective is to enhance the efficiency of electricity usage and distribution. As an integral component of the broader electricity grid modernisation initiative, smart grid metering enables more precise tracking, monitoring, and management of energy resources. These systems typically encompass digital meters, communication networks connecting meters and utilities, and software that empowers utilities to analyse and interpret usage data.
GlobalData’s analysis also uncovers the companies at the forefront of each innovation area and assesses the potential reach and impact of their patenting activity across different applications and geographies. According to GlobalData, there are 40+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established technology companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of smart grid metering.
Key players in smart grid metering – a disruptive innovation in the technology industry
‘Application diversity’ measures the number of different applications identified for each relevant patent and broadly splits companies into either ‘niche’ or ‘diversified’ innovators.
‘Geographic reach’ refers to the number of different countries each relevant patent is registered in and reflects the breadth of geographic application intended, ranging from ‘global’ to ‘local’.
Patent volumes related to smart grid metering
Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics
General Electric (GE) is one of the leading patent filers in smart grid metering. The company’s patents are aimed at systems, methods, and apparatus for powering an advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) communication board.
A smart power meter may include both a meter metrology component configured to monitor the amount of energy supplied via a power line and a universal serial bus (USB) device controller configured to interface with a USB connection. An AMI board configured to facilitate communication over an AMI network may include a USB host controller configured to communicate with the USB device controller. The USB host controller and the AMI board may be powered by the USB device controller via the USB connection.
Smart grid metering can revolutionise the way electricity is consumed and managed by providing real-time data on energy usage. It facilitates efficient energy distribution, empowers consumers to make informed decisions about their usage, supports demand response programmes, and promotes grid stability.
To further understand how environmental sustainability is disrupting the technology industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Sustainability – Thematic Research.