Data Security Concern is the Leading Barrier to Adopting Innovative Technologies among U.S.-Based Utility Firms

Oyster Bay, New York - 19 Sep 2017

In a recent B2B technology survey of U.S.-based utility companies, ABI Research finds that 40% of respondents believe that data security is the leading barrier to adopting innovative technologies. However, it is a barrier that can be overcome, with 64% of large utility enterprises expressing willingness to adopt innovative technologies such as IoT, robotic, and wearable solutions, within the next twelve months.

“Technological transformation on energy as in the deployment of smart meters, sensors, and other IoT devices embedded into energy infrastructure, presents potential security vulnerabilities such as cyberattacks and threats from hackers, which have the potential to cause catastrophic results,” says Raquel Artes, Industry Analyst at ABI Research.

Survey findings suggest that, despite current data security obstacles, utility firms are familiar with innovative technologies and plan to adopt them within the next year. This is especially true among smaller companies:

  • IoT: 88% of respondents are familiar with IoT. 30% of firms already deployed IoT solutions, and an additional 24% plan to deploy them in the next 12 months.
  • Robotics: 88% of respondents are familiar with robotics. 20% already deployed robotic technologies, and 18% state a willingness to deploy the technologies in the next 12 months.
  • Wearables and Smart Glasses: 86% of respondents are familiar with wearables and smart glasses, but only 9% of respondents currently use them. 41% of small firms plan to deploy wearables and smart glasses in the next 12 months, as opposed to 11% of large firms.

“Interestingly, security concern barriers to adoption mirror the cloud preference among small and large utility firms,” concludes Artes. “A higher proportion of small firms (68%) firms consider housing their operational data on a hosted cloud platform than large firms (39%). Hybrid cloud is gaining momentum with 36% of respondents said they would deploy hybrid cloud by 2021.”

Additional noteworthy findings from the survey include:

  • Investment Priorities: Smart cities ranked first, followed by transmission infrastructure and automotive.
  • Distributed Generation of renewable energy:  Utility firms cited they would capitalize on partnerships with automotive original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) on vehicle-to-grid solutions (40% of respondents), deployment of demand response optimization technologies (32%) and expansion into smart home/buildings micro-grids (24%).
  • Demand-response optimization: It is expected to grow rapidly in the next 5 years driven by strong momentum (90% of respondents shared they would deploy it in the next 5 years).

These findings are from ABI Research's Industry Survey: Transformative Technology Adoption and Attitudes – Utilities  report. This report is part of the company’s Smart Cities & Smart Spaces research service, which includes research, data, and analyst insights.

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