What is the Internet of Things (IoT)?
The Internet of Things is a medium, with the help of which machines communicate. The machine shares each other’s data of current status and it helps to take the right decision based on data communicated. As the name suggests it’s the Internet of the Things (Objects/Machines) as we humans have our World Wide Web.
Usage of IoT
The Internet of Things has a huge number of applications, and the World is moving towards it. Right from application at Home to application in the Medical and the Engineering Industry. The Internet of Things Project has broadly three steps viz. Data Collection, Data Transfer, and Decision Making.
- Data Collection: This step happens at the remote level with the help of sensors. The sensors are installed to collect real-time data.
- Data Transfer: The collected data is then transferred using the Internet to the control system to record and regulate.
- Decision Making: Now the control system will analyze the data and send in command if required which will trigger the actuators to take action.
We can understand these steps with the help of an example of an overhead tank on a building. Sensors are installed in the overhead tank to check water levels regularly. Now when the water level is low, the sensor installed senses the level (Step 1- Data Collection) and sends these data to control Panel via Internet or wired connections (Step 2- Data Transfer). The control panel then analyses the data and then sends a signal to actuate the pump (Step 3- Decision Making), and the tank starts filling.
When the tank is filled, the sensor sends the signal and the steps repeat which stops the pump and the process is complete.
Application in Electrical Power Industry
The Electrical Power Industry has always been at the forefront when it comes to the adaption of new technologies to ensure high efficiency in generation, transmission, and safety. Availability of The Internet makes the Grid Smarter and more optimized. The Power Industry has many challenges during generation, transmission, distribution, and consumption which can be curbed greatly by the application of The Internet of Things.
In the past few years, many countries across the world have understood the need to shift to the generation of electricity through renewable means especially Solar and Wind Energy. India has been one of the major players in this shift of electricity generation method. The major drawback these renewable energy generation plants possess is its heavy dependency on the weather conditions. Here is where the IoT can come and help in smoothing the edges. The IoT can help read data viz. temperature, humidity, wind speed, etc. using sensors and storing them and then this data can be used to predict weather conditions which in turn can help in prediction energy generation.
Power Transmission requires a huge amount of regular visits to check the health of transmission towers and devices which is spread across large areas of land. As on our quest to provide electricity to each and every household in remotest of areas, the challenge lies in the power transmission. The regular manual visits make it more challenging. IoT can help track the transmission devices, and weather conditions in remote areas which can damage the towers. The online system will detect the problem in real-time and the problem can be attended at the earliest.
Smart Grid can help the authorities immensely in increasing power distribution efficiency. Smart Meters POWERPROFIT which collects and transfers consumption pattern data are very useful in optimizing the consumption of electricity. It was not a long time ago when a guy from the electricity distribution company used to visit each household personally to check meter readings to charge the consumer accordingly. Now with the help of IoT, many such manual labors have reduced. The meter readings are transferred online.
With the usage of IoT, now even the user can save costs on their monthly consumption of electricity. Smart lighting systems help switch on the light when the person is in the room, and it automatically switches off when one leaves. This is possible using Infrared Sensors, which monitors movement in the room. Smart Appliances like Smart TV, Smart AC is available which can be controlled over the internet using an Application on the portable devices.
SCADA stands for supervisory control and data acquisition. This device helps to gather and analyze real-time data. SCADA Systems are used in very critical applications wherein every second is crucial in case of an emergency. For example in Gas Pipeline Distribution, SCADA keeps track of all the spread pipelines. As soon as the leakage occurs it sends an alarm signal to the control room and on the display screen, it shows the severity of leakage. This helps to take the required steps promptly and save damage.
Internet of Things has very wide range of applications and it will change how we consume energy in the future. IoT gives a lot of scopes of advancement in technologies and revolutionizing many traditional sectors. The smart grid is the future in electrical power industry. The demand for energy in India is increasing and the utilities can benefit a lot from IoT from cutting costing to growing at faster rate.