Wireless Smart Energy Markets to Reach $20 Billion by 2018

April 16, 2014 by Jeff Shepard

Energy savings for smart homes, buildings and cities will soon be a multi-billion market, driven by Smart Grid initiatives and consumer targeted wireless Smart Energy innovations, according to the latest research by ON World. Wireless sensor networking (WSN) has created a multi-billion dollar Smart Energy market, according to global technology research firm ON World. Annual revenues from WSN related products and services for energy management, smart lighting and advanced metering will reach $20 billion worldwide within the next five years.

“The energy sector has some of the largest and fastest growing Internet of Things markets,” says Mareca Hatler, ON World’s research director. “Enabled by wireless sensor network technologies combined with cloud services and mobile apps, Smart Energy solutions are transforming global markets.” Smart Energy startups have raised almost two-thirds of the $3.4 billion in the venture capital that has been invested in WSN related products and technologies.

ON World’s recently completed survey with over 1,000 U.S. consumers found that smart thermostats were the most popular home energy management devices followed by lighting controls and smart appliances. The survey also found that 40% of Internet connected U.S. consumers are willing to allow their utility to remotely control their energy devices if they are provided with incentives such as a free thermostat or real-time pricing plan that allows them to save on their energy costs.

By 2018, there will be 50 million smart homes and buildings enabled by WSN technologies such as ZigBee, WiFi, Bluetooth, EnOcean and Z-Wave. The emergence of wireless enabled light bulbs and lamps has accelerated adoption of smart lighting solutions in the commercial and residential sectors. Sales of consumer LED smart lighting has increased almost 300% over the past year with the majority of these using ZigBee based systems. By 2020, there will be 100 million Internet connected wirelss light bulbs and lamps worldwide.

Consumers want real-time access to their energy consumption data and they prefer to use their smartphones or tablets as their home energy interface device. In fact, ON World’s recent survey found that 30% of respondents age 18 to 24 ranked “smartphone/tablet control” as their single most important purchasing consideration related to home energy management.

The vision of end-to-end, standards based Smart Grid-to-the-home communications is now a reality. The ZigBee Smart Energy 2 supports IP based networking technology including WiFi, 6LoWPAN and HomePlug. Used in hundreds of products today, Bluetooth Smart is one of the most disruptive Internet of Things technologies. Appearing primarily in mobile body area network products so far, Bluetooth Smart is also targeting smart home solutions. The latest Bluetooth 4.1 specification enables devices to set up a dedicated channel for communication including future support for IPv6 at the sensor level.

The open source OpenADR specification simplifies utility-to-customer communications and compliance with regulations such as California’s Title 24 that requires in-building systems to support two-way communications with utility networks for demand response starting this summer.

Based on surveys and phone interviews with over 3,000 individuals, ON World’s recently published “Smart Energy Set” includes six reports that cover the major Smart Energy markets including 802.15.4 and ZigBee, Smart Buildings, Smart Homes, Home Energy Management, Smart Lighting and Smart Metering.