A recent Greentech Media article states that situational intelligence vendors such as SpaceTime Insight have been landing big utility customers “by putting disparate data streams and stores to use in applications to solve today’s data management challenges — not in years or months, but in weeks, or sometimes even days.”
As the article explains, many utilities are struggling with ensuring that their analytics for different data streams are, first of all, accurate, and second of all, properly correlated to one another.
For example: “Take the situation of a meter that’s not functioning properly: Is it due to a meter hardware failure, a network failure, or because somebody has ripped the meter from its socket? Having access to data streams on each of those possible points of failure, and being able to correlate each in relation to the other, can deliver an answer to questions like these, which separate systems can struggle to provide.”
According to the article, big IT companies struggle to effectively serve the utility analytics market for a couple reasons. One, the solutions that they offer are expensive and take a long time to implement for a customer. Two, they ask utility customers to commit to significant upfront investments with as-yet-uncertain outcomes.
Additionally, big IT companies have the obligation to maintain and perpetuate their installed base of software and hardware, even if those products were never designed or intended to handle the current or future requirements related to the Internet of Things, machine learning, cloud computing and other historic trends remaking the IT sector and society at large. If your product line is built upon SQL, and SQL no longer scales sufficiently to handle your customers’ data streams from the Internet of Things, what do you do?
GTM Research foresees global utility data analytics growing from $1.1 billion in 2013 to nearly $4 billion by 2020. This growth will be largely driven by the flood of new data from connected utility assets, and the desire to turn it from an overwhelming deluge into streams of business value. With that much money at stake and small companies scoring large customer wins, big IT companies may decide that they need build, or buy, new situational intelligence solutions to stay competitive.