Ingenieur Vol. 75 ingenieur July 2018-FA - Page 57

Merging the physical and digital world also has implications for privacy and security. As with data connection, the connections that allow remote machines to act without human operators are subject to hacking by unauthorised people, criminals or terrorists. The data collected via health monitoring could be abused. For example, the in-home controllers for smart grid applications (such as controllers that can selectively turn air- conditioning or appliances on and off to save energy or take advantage of lower tariff rates at times of day) have implications on home privacy and autonomy. These issues will need to be addressed before society and businesses will be able to reap the full benefits of the Internet of Things. Electricity Infrastructure Electricity utilities have been among the early adopter enterprises. By bringing plants, equipment, other assets of electricity utility grid infrastructure (generation, transmission and distribution network) and electricity consumers into the connected world, the IoT enables new ways of monitoring and managing all the “moving parts” that make up the electricity utility business. At any moment, management can see the status and flow of goods and materials through the utility grid infrastructure to its connected consumers. By monitoring these critical assets in real time, the utility company can better gauge and control usage, optimise network performance and avoid disruptions by engaging in condition-based preventive maintenance of these assets. This means that rather than waiting to receive calls from customers whose lights have gone out, the electricity company can locate a failure as it happens and, under some circumstances, even restore power by rerouting service around the failed transmission, distribution or generating equipment. Smart electrical grid systems are an important IoT application, with a potential annual value of about US$200 to US$500 billion by 2025 [Ref.1]. The bulk of this impact would come from demand- side management applications that could reduce costly peak generation, which often requires utilities to buy electricity at the highest rates from the electricity market or invest in extra peaking capacity plants such as fast-response gas-turbine generators. Many commercial customers already avoid scheduling energy-intensive processes and production during periods of peak power/ energy demand, when costs are at their highest, and some have formal agreements with utilities to reduce usage whenever demand reaches a certain level. With IoT-embedded smart grids, consumers can let the utility company automatically power down high-use systems and appliances during periods of peak demand or they can make their own choices based on real-time tariff rate information (time-of-use pricing) that the company provides. DSM could reduce peak power (Megawatt) capacity demand by 2% to 4% and cut overall energy demand (Megawatt-hours) by 1% to 2%. This would allow utilities (such as TNB) to avoid building potentially billions of Ringgit worth of additional peak generating capacity and transmission & distribution infrastructure. IoT sensors embedded in smart grids can monitor and diagnose network problems in real- time to prevent unplanned outages and reduce corrective maintenance costs through condition- based preventive maintenance strategy. At the user end, smart meters equipped with two-way communication capabilities could reduce outage time and enable faster outage restoration. They can also enable remote automatic meter reading, eliminating the need for personnel to gather that information. Implications The Internet of Things is such a sweeping technology development that it is a challenge to even prognose all the possible ways in which it will affect businesses, economies, and society. For the first time, computers are now able to receive data from almost any kind of physical object, enabling managers and operators to monitor the well-being and performance of plants, machines, equipment and even people. Hardware manufacturers that supply sensors, actuators and communications devices will continue to refine their products and reduce costs. For example, the electricity power systems for smart grid application could include hundreds of thousands of devices, sensors and other hardware 55