Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Nema initiative to focus on IoT

Steve Rogerson
December 15, 2015
 
The US National Electrical Manufacturers Association (Nema) is launching a strategic initiative next year focussing on the IoT, senior programme manager Ryan Franks told delegates at this month’s IMC (IoT M2M Council) AGM in London.
 
He said that “several hundred thousands of dollars” were being invested to try to build a programme around the IoT. “We want to lead common approaches to standardisation, architecture development and code writing,” he said. “We want to promote government policies that encourage technical innovations and the markets for them.”
 
Other goals in the IoT programme include developing a common understanding of business cases through economic analysis and education and facilitating connectivity, interoperability and cyber-security in electro-technical products.
 
One of the problems, especially when it came to smart grids he said was the huge amount of inertia within the utilities. “It is a very challenging environment to sell into,” he said. “We want to create digital assets for things that traditionally are not digital. The smart grid is about flexibility and control over your assets. Things that never had connectivity are beginning to interact.”
 
He also said he was seeing a lot of interest in extending this to a full smart city concept. “That will see the increased use of ICT and interaction among disparate systems such as power, water, gas, transportation and communications,” he said. “This is not something that has been done before. It is very challenging.”
 
He said another problem was a lack of a clear goal internationally, with different regions going down the smart city and smart grid routes for their own reason. For example, he said in Asia the focus was on the export market whereas in Europe it was all about sustainability and environmentally conscious design. And in North America, the focus was probably on resilience and guarding against unexpected events such as earthquakes.