Dec 10 2021

4 Tech Trends to Watch in Energy and Utilities in 2022

Growing adoption of 5G, cloud computing and AI is likely to drive digital transformation within the energy and utilities sector in the coming year.

2021 was a tumultuous year for the energy and utilities industry. Multiple utilities suffered high-profile ransomware attacks, which raised serious concerns about cybersecurity for critical infrastructure that caught the attention of federal lawmakers. At the same time, the industry faced concerns over grid reliability while adapting to an increased demand for renewable sources of energy.

Remaining competitive has always required energy providers to be agile and innovative, and they’ve consistently looked to technology solutions to help balance the supply and demand of energy while reducing costs.

While there are many tech tools that can help these organizations achieve their digital goals, a few stand to make a greater impact in 2022. These are the tech trends to keep an eye on for the energy and utilities sector.

1. 5G Use Will Grow in the Energy Industry 

The energy and utilities industry will continue modernizing the electric grid to make it more reliable and less costly. Utility companies rely on millions of connected devices, such as smart meters and sensors, to share data from various locations, and 5G can enhance the reliability and security of these connections.

Click the banner below to learn what CDW CTO Sanjay Sood is looking out for in 2022.

In addition to improved communication, 5G technology will allow energy producers to incorporate renewable energy sources more easily into the grid. It will also enable greater use of smart meters on mobile devices, which will benefit providers as well as consumers.

2. Energy Companies Will Continue to Migrate to the Cloud

Energy companies are constantly creating and collecting vast amounts of data that can be harvested for many purposes. But the management, storage and protection of this data can be overwhelming for any organization.

Cloud adoption will likely grow for energy providers in 2022. The industry already relies heavily on IoT devices and is using data to enable innovative tools such as digital twins. The cloud is a critical part of such technological developments, and that trend will not change in the coming year.

3. Cybersecurity Will Continue as a Top Priority

Given the rise in ransomware and other cyberattacks, as well as the ever-changing tactics of cybercriminals, it’s no surprise that more cybersecurity solutions will be deployed in 2022 to address the threats. Governments and utilities are expected to put a greater focus on the development of innovative and resilient solutions.

MORE ENERGY SECURITY: How organizations should conduct cybersecurity training.

Faced with a constantly evolving threat landscape, energy providers have little choice but to invest in security solutions that can minimize downtime in the event of an attack. As President Biden said in a July 28 memorandum on improving cybersecurity for critical infrastructure, “The cybersecurity threats posed to the systems that control and operate the critical infrastructure on which we all depend are among the most significant and growing issues confronting our nation. The degradation, destruction or malfunction of systems that control this infrastructure could cause significant harm to the national and economic security of the United States.”

4. AI Will Continue to Drive Innovation

In 2021, energy companies have already begun to use AI to boost operations. The technology has proved useful for forecasting energy needs, managing resources and efficiently storing energy. Going forward, it will be an invaluable tool in making the transition to an energy system that uses more renewable sources of energy.

AI and machine learning can be used to accurately predict energy prices and demand and to optimize energy consumption. The federal government is counting on these technologies to accelerate research that will enable long-term energy storage.

AI will also be a critical tool in balancing the many sources that contribute electricity to the grid, supporting much more rapid and efficient forecasting and delivery of power to consumers.

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