Internet of Things (IoT) for Smart Grid

Detailed overview of innovation with sample startups and prominent university research

What it is

The Internet of Things (IoT) for grid monitoring involves deploying a network of sensors and devices throughout the electricity grid to collect real-time data on various parameters, such as voltage levels, current flows, equipment status, and environmental conditions. This data is then transmitted to a central platform for analysis and visualization, providing grid operators with comprehensive insights into grid performance and enabling proactive management and control.

Impact on climate action

The Internet of Things (IoT) in Smart Grids revolutionizes climate action by optimizing energy distribution and consumption. By enabling real-time monitoring and control of energy systems, IoT enhances grid efficiency, reduces waste, and promotes renewable energy integration, accelerating the transition to a sustainable and resilient energy infrastructure.


  • Sensors and Devices: IoT sensors and devices are deployed throughout the grid, including on transformers, power lines, substations, and customer premises. These sensors collect data on various parameters, such as voltage, current, temperature, vibration, and environmental conditions.
  • Connectivity and Communication: Data from sensors and devices is transmitted wirelessly or through wired networks to a central data platform. Communication protocols, such as Wi-Fi, cellular networks, and low-power wide-area networks (LPWANs), are used to ensure reliable and secure data transmission.
  • Data Analytics Platforms: Cloud-based or on-premises data analytics platforms collect, store, and analyze data from IoT devices, providing insights into grid performance, identifying potential issues, and enabling predictive maintenance.
  • AI and Machine Learning: AI and ML algorithms can be used to analyze grid data, detect anomalies, predict equipment failures, and optimize grid operations.
  • Edge Computing: Edge computing brings computing power and data analysis closer to the source of data collection, enabling faster response times and reducing the amount of data that needs to be transmitted to the cloud.

TRL : 7-8

Prominent Innovation themes

  • Advanced Sensor Technologies: Innovations in sensor technology are leading to the development of more accurate, reliable, and affordable sensors that can collect a wider range of data, providing more comprehensive insights into grid conditions.
  • Low-Power Wide-Area Networks (LPWANs): LPWAN technologies, such as LoRaWAN and NB-IoT, are enabling the deployment of IoT devices in remote locations with low power consumption, expanding the reach of grid monitoring systems.
  • AI-Powered Grid Analytics: Advanced AI algorithms and machine learning techniques are being used to analyze grid data and provide insights into grid performance, predict potential issues, and recommend optimization strategies.
  • Digital Twins for Grid Management: Digital twins of grid assets and infrastructure can be used to simulate and analyze grid behavior, enabling proactive maintenance and optimization.

Other Innovation Subthemes

  • Real-time Grid Performance Monitoring
  • Predictive Maintenance Strategies
  • Enhanced Grid Security Measures
  • Energy Efficiency Optimization
  • Grid Resilience Enhancement
  • Fault Detection and Analysis
  • Demand Response Integration
  • Asset Health Monitoring
  • Environmental Impact Assessment
  • Grid Automation Solutions
  • Data-driven Grid Planning
  • Voltage and Current Optimization
  • Load Balancing Techniques
  • Renewable Energy Integration
  • Customer Engagement Platforms
  • Grid Connectivity Solutions
  • Cybersecurity Measures for IoT Networks
  • Proactive Grid Management Strategies
  • Advanced Grid Analytics Techniques
  • Remote Monitoring and Control Systems

Sample Global Startups and Companies

  1. Trilliant:
    • Technology Enhancement: Trilliant specializes in advanced IoT solutions for utility and smart city applications. Their platform integrates smart meters, sensors, and communication networks to enable real-time monitoring, control, and optimization of energy and water resources. Trilliant’s IoT solutions leverage wireless mesh networking, data analytics, and cloud-based software to enhance operational efficiency and sustainability.
    • Uniqueness of the Startup: Trilliant stands out for its focus on delivering comprehensive IoT solutions tailored to the needs of utility companies and municipalities. Their platform offers scalability, interoperability, and security features, allowing seamless integration with existing infrastructure and diverse IoT devices. Trilliant’s expertise in smart grid technologies and data management makes them a trusted partner for digital transformation initiatives in the energy and water sectors.
    • End-User Segments Addressing: Trilliant serves utility companies, municipalities, and industrial customers seeking to modernize infrastructure, improve resource management, and enhance customer engagement. Their IoT solutions are deployed in smart grid projects, water management systems, and smart city initiatives, delivering benefits such as energy efficiency, grid resilience, and operational intelligence.
  2. Itron:
    • Technology Enhancement: Itron is a leading provider of IoT solutions for utility and smart city applications. Their portfolio includes smart meters, communication networks, and software platforms for energy and water management. Itron’s IoT solutions enable utilities to collect, analyze, and act on data from meters and sensors, optimizing operations, reducing losses, and improving service reliability.
    • Uniqueness of the Startup: Itron stands out for its long-standing experience in the utility industry and its commitment to innovation in IoT technologies. Their open and standards-based approach to IoT enables interoperability with third-party systems and devices, fostering collaboration and innovation across the ecosystem. Itron’s focus on sustainability and resilience aligns with the evolving needs of utilities and communities worldwide.
    • End-User Segments Addressing: Itron serves utility companies, municipalities, and industrial customers seeking to enhance resource management, grid optimization, and customer engagement. Their IoT solutions are deployed in smart metering projects, distribution automation systems, and smart city initiatives, driving efficiency gains, cost savings, and environmental benefits.
  3. Landis+Gyr:
    • Technology Enhancement: Landis+Gyr specializes in IoT-enabled smart metering and grid management solutions. Their portfolio includes advanced metering infrastructure (AMI), smart grid sensors, and grid analytics software for energy and water utilities. Landis+Gyr’s IoT solutions enable utilities to monitor, control, and optimize grid performance, enhance service reliability, and support renewable energy integration.
    • Uniqueness of the Startup: Landis+Gyr stands out for its global presence and its focus on providing end-to-end IoT solutions for utilities. Their expertise in smart metering and grid automation technologies positions them as a trusted partner for digital transformation initiatives in the energy sector. Landis+Gyr’s commitment to innovation and customer-centric approach drives continuous improvement and value creation.
    • End-User Segments Addressing: Landis+Gyr serves energy and water utilities, municipalities, and industrial customers seeking to modernize infrastructure, improve operational efficiency, and adapt to changing market dynamics. Their IoT solutions are deployed in smart meter deployments, grid modernization projects, and renewable energy integration initiatives, delivering benefits such as energy savings, grid resilience, and customer satisfaction.

Sample Research At Top-Tier Universities

  1. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT):
    • Research Focus: MIT is a pioneer in research on applying IoT to Smart Grids, focusing on developing advanced sensing, communication, and control technologies to enhance the reliability, efficiency, and resilience of power systems.
    • Uniqueness: Their research involves the deployment of IoT devices, including smart meters, sensors, and actuators, across the grid infrastructure to collect real-time data on energy consumption, grid performance, and equipment health. They develop machine learning algorithms, data analytics tools, and decision support systems to analyze and interpret the vast amounts of data generated by IoT devices and optimize grid operations, predictive maintenance, and demand response programs.
    • End-use Applications: The outcomes of their work have applications in utility operations, grid optimization, and customer engagement. By leveraging IoT for Smart Grids, MIT’s research facilitates the integration of renewable energy resources, electric vehicles, and energy storage systems, enabling more efficient energy management, reduced carbon emissions, and improved grid reliability and resilience.
  2. Stanford University:
    • Research Focus: Stanford University conducts innovative research on IoT for Smart Grids, leveraging its expertise in wireless communications, networked systems, and distributed computing to develop scalable and interoperable IoT solutions for monitoring, control, and optimization of power distribution systems.
    • Uniqueness: Their research encompasses the development of low-power, low-cost IoT devices, wireless sensor networks, and edge computing platforms tailored to the unique requirements of Smart Grid applications. They also investigate novel communication protocols, cybersecurity measures, and privacy-preserving techniques to ensure the secure and reliable operation of IoT-enabled grid infrastructure.
    • End-use Applications: The outcomes of their work find applications in smart metering, grid monitoring, and demand-side management. By deploying IoT technologies in Smart Grids, Stanford’s research enables utilities, grid operators, and energy consumers to make data-driven decisions, improve energy efficiency, and optimize resource allocation in real-time, leading to cost savings and environmental benefits.
  3. Carnegie Mellon University (CMU):
    • Research Focus: CMU is engaged in cutting-edge research on IoT applications for Smart Grids, leveraging its expertise in cyber-physical systems, distributed control, and energy systems engineering to develop innovative solutions for grid monitoring, optimization, and resilience.
    • Uniqueness: Their research involves the integration of IoT devices, distributed sensors, and advanced analytics algorithms into the grid infrastructure to enable autonomous monitoring, diagnosis, and control of grid assets and operations. They also explore the use of blockchain technology, edge computing, and decentralized control strategies to enhance the security, reliability, and flexibility of IoT-enabled Smart Grids.
    • End-use Applications: The outcomes of their work have applications in grid automation, energy forecasting, and outage management. By leveraging IoT for Smart Grids, CMU’s research supports the transition to a more sustainable, efficient, and responsive energy system, empowering utilities and consumers to optimize energy use, reduce costs, and mitigate risks associated with grid disruptions and cybersecurity threats.

commercial_img Commercial Implementation

IoT-based grid monitoring systems are being implemented by utilities and grid operators around the world to improve grid visibility, reliability, and resilience. For example, many utilities are using IoT sensors to monitor the condition of transformers and power lines, enabling proactive maintenance and reducing the risk of outages.