Over the past several years, smart grid initiatives around the world have focused largely on the deployment of smart meters. Increasingly, however, utilities worldwide are beginning to look at applications like substation automation, distribution automation, advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) backhaul, remote monitoring, workforce mobility, and communications network redundancy. These applications are expected to bring dramatically improved operational efficiency to utilities as well as reliability to the grid. While substation and distribution sites in urban and suburban markets can be readily connected to the grid via existing terrestrial communications networks, in order to create a fully-automated, reliable grid, rural and remote sites must also be accommodated and backup systems need to be in place for critical sites.
Thanks to a number of advances in both technical characteristics - latency, in particular - as well as a dramatic declines in pricing for both the equipment as well as monthly service, satellite communications is emerging as a viable and attractive means of connectivity for many smart grid applications, particularly as smart grid efforts move beyond developed, densely populated regions. Numerous satellite service providers and equipment manufacturers are now aggressively pursuing the utility market, a trend which should further the reduction in satellite service and equipment pricing even as bandwidth and connection speeds improve.
This Pike Research report examines the economics and dynamics of satellite communications as it relates to smart grid deployments. The study provides an in-depth examination of market drivers, technology issues and standards, and the competitive landscape for smart grid networking. Detailed market forecasts are included for unit shipments and infrastructure and satellite service revenue, segmented by technology, application, and world region, through 2020.