Evolving power distribution for a digital world

David Williams, Regional Director of Power Solutions at Schneider Electric

With ten times more connected devices than people predicted to exist by 2020, the Internet of Things (IoT) is fast becoming the internet of everything[i

to evolve and meet demand in a sustainable, efficient way. However, while this innovation does

]. One area

particularly affected by this change is power distribution in buildings. Thanks to innovative technologies, buildings can drastically improve performance, safety, efficiency, and sustainability. Digitised power distribution goes beyond improving day- to-day operations, to affecting change in maintenance and improving a building’s long- term health. It is evident that power distribution in buildings of all types and sizes is experiencing a complete paradigm shift. Connectivity, data and predictive analytics are essentially overhauling the way buildings are maintained and more importantly, optimised. As electricity demand is expected to double by 2040, the changing tide is forcing facility owners and managers to rethink their approach to building management in order to cultivate a sustainable digital future[ii

]. Realising restrictions

There have already been huge changes in how power is generated and used in recent years. With the challenges of rapid population growth and spiralling energy demand in our current climate, innovations in power generation are providing new solutions. Compared to just a few years ago, there has been a huge increase in multi-source power generation, decentralised grids, decarbonisation, renewable resources, and smart electrical distribution management. Without a doubt, great work has been done

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combat many issues, it also presents businesses with substantial operational challenges. Buildings and facilities consume a great deal of energy while power assets incur significant operational costs, and the traditional distribution and monitoring systems that run them cannot handle the more dynamic and multi-directional nature of power. Unless addressed, this setback may become a barrier to further progression, placing a cap on the potential of the evolution of power distribution. In order to shape the greatest possible future for power, a complete transformation of these systems

is needed. The way buildings work must be revolutionised from the inside out.

The power of now

The more digitised a building becomes, the better it will be able to adapt to the changing nature of power. Digitisation is having an enormous impact on the world in general, but it has a particular transformative effect on buildings and distribution. There are numerous trends in building

operations that reveal the future shape power distribution may take. The ubiquity of the Internet of Things (IoT) has had a massive influence in the past five years. The more a building’s devices can connect to one another, the more optimised they

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