The power industry continues to be a hotbed of innovation, with activity driven by the need for greater efficiency and reliability along with reduced greenhouse gas emissions, and growing importance of technologies such as solar power, smart energy storage system, renewable energy integration and energy security. 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 Artificial Intelligence in Power: Smart grid remote monitoring.

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, power distribution system modelling, electricity supply distribution models, and AI-assisted power fault monitoring 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 prepaid electricity metering and home automation networks, which are now well established in the industry. 

Innovation S-curve for artificial intelligence in the power industry

Smart grid remote monitoring is a key innovation area in artificial intelligence

Smart grids are electrical grids or components of an electrical grid that use IT and communication modules to gather information in real time. This information is used to optimise energy utilisation, plan services, and increase grid and electricity exchange efficiency. It uses computer-based remote control and automation technology to collect and manage electricity-usage data. Some use two-way communication technology and communication processes to increase system efficiency, facilitate fast data transfer, and improve energy management.

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 20+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established power companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of smart grid remote monitoring.

Key players in smart grid remote monitoring– 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’.

Itron is one of the leading patent filers in Smart grid monitoring. Itron and SmartThings are working together to provide an integrated energy experience by connecting Itron 's industrial IoT network solution and SmartThings ' services and solution. The companies plan to unlock the user experience and rapidly enhance value to both the consumer and the utility through improved distributed energy management, accelerated carbon reduction and enhanced consumer engagement. Recently, the company has signed a contract with Energy Queensland to deploy Temetra , Itron ’s cloud-based mobile meter data collection and management solution. Itron is expanding its collaboration with Microsoft to accelerate cloud adoption and the next generation of consumer and grid edge solutions for the utility and smart cities industries. Other key patent filers in the smart grid industry include Panasonic , Schneider Electric , Kyocera and LS Electric .

To further understand how artificial intelligence is disrupting the power industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on AI in Power.

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.