The power industry continues to be a hotbed of innovation, with activity driven by increased safety, optimised and controlled power infrastructure assets and improved efficiency and growing importance of technologies such as smart grids, smart meters and advanced metering infrastructure. In the last three years alone, there have been over 439,000 patents filed and granted in the power industry, according to GlobalData’s report on Internet of Things in Power: Prepaid electricity metering.

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.

90+ innovations will shape the power industry

According to GlobalData’s Technology Foresights, which plots the S-curve for the power industry using innovation intensity models built on over 83,000 patents, there are 90+ innovation areas that will shape the future of the industry.

Within the emerging innovation stage, EV conductive charging, smart grid remote monitoring, and self-organising networks power optimisation are disruptive technologies that are in the early stages of application and should be tracked closely. Smart batteries, renewable energy integrated microgrids, and smart lighting system are some of the accelerating innovation areas, where adoption has been steadily increasing. Among maturing innovation areas are home automation network power management, and prepaid electricity metering, which are now well established in the industry. 

Innovation S-curve for Internet of Things in the power industry

Prepaid electricity metering is a key innovation area in Internet of Things

Prepaid electricity metering enables consumers to pay for their electricity in advance by keeping a track of the power consumed. The prepaid metering minimises the gap between the cost of power supply and the revenue generated.  

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 30+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established power companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of prepaid electricity metering.

Key players in prepaid electricity metering – a disruptive innovation in the power 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’.

AES , Siemens and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries were the leaders in terms of patents filed between 2010 and 2021. Siemens EnergyIP Prepay is a comprehensive energy payment solution and a smart way to energy efficiency. It enables flexible tariff models, reduces operating costs and gives customers the freedom to recharge their account anytime. Siemens also partnered with Tata Power Delhi Distribution for deployment of smart metering technology for over 2,00,000 smart metres in Delhi, India. The EnergyIP Meter Data Management System installed and commissioned by Siemens enables timely and accurate collection of electricity meter data.

To further understand how Internet of Things is disrupting the power industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Internet of Things in Power (2021).

GlobalData, the leading provider of industry intelligence, provided the underlying data, research, and analysis used to produce this article.

GlobalData’s Patent Analytics tracks patent filings and grants from official offices around the world. Textual analysis and official patent classifications are used to group patents into key thematic areas and link them to specific companies across the world’s largest industries.