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IoT and Blockchain: the new green power couple

26 May 2020
Erik Brenneis

Erik Brenneis

Internet of Things Director,
Vodafone Business

Gartner estimates that there are over 1.1 billion IoT devices in the world’s utilities grids and this number is growing rapidly, driven by the demand for renewable, decentralised and sustainable sources of energy.

Heat pumps and solar panels are now a common occurrence in households around the world and wind turbines are a major contributor to the energy mix. And with new energy storage solutions, like the Tesla batteries, a whole new world of opportunities arises to generate, store and even sell energy between households and grids.

This shift is helping energy systems decarbonise globally. However, these decentralised assets require specialist monitoring and control to ensure the stability of the grid and the most effective use of their distributed capacity.

Grids are hyper-efficient machines that hang in a constant balance. Every watt of energy injected in the system needs to be used and an imbalance results in either wastage or blackout.

When new solutions, like batteries, heat pumps, wind turbines or solar panels, enter the grid, it is essential they become an integral part of this delicate balance. The best way to achieve this is to connect them all using IoT, so data about their status is always visible across the energy ecosystem.

Easy and secure

As the number of these decentralised devices grows, so does the need for them to be connected at all times. By using IoT connectivity, these devices can easily be connected to mobile networks and using a SIM card means each device can be securely identified. This provides the trust required for energy operators to be able to recognise, assess and rely on these assets within their grids.

And that’s why we have entered a partnership with Energy Web, a non-profit organisation, whose mission is to accelerate the decarbonisation of the grid. IoT allows the distributed assets of energy networks to be reliably and securely connected and we are proud to be contributing to reducing the impact of energy production on our planet.

An exciting aspect of this partnership is that our global IoT connectivity will make use of SIM-centric Blockchain technology (SCB) to provide another layer of secure identity management. This will provide a secure digital ID for every device and allow the decentralised energy assets to be safely integrated within a grid.

I don’t often talk about Blockchain and IoT together, but the powerful synergy between secure communication and identity management creates a really adaptable and secure mechanism for simply connecting millions of devices.

At Vodafone Business IoT we share a common goal with Energy Web: to demonstrate how technology can help the planet.

IoT can play a big part in this and we are looking forward to working with Energy Web to create a better, greener, future for all.

You can hear more about the power of combining Blockchain and IoT from expert David Palmer, who sat down with Dr Daniel Bergström, Senior Researcher at Ericsson.

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