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Energy storage can improve the delivery of smart energy solutions in smart cities, according to Navigant Research

By Zenobia Hegde

A new report from Navigant Research examines the relationship between energy storage and smart cities, providing an overview of relevant applications as well as drivers and barriers.

Smart energy technologies are increasingly expected to help address the sustainability needs of smart cities to reduce carbon-intensive peak energy use and to develop resilient energy systems.

“Smart energy technologies such as energy storage will increasingly be called on to address the sustainability needs of the urban energy transformation now underway,” says William Tokash, senior research analyst at Navigant Research. “Specifically, energy storage is now poised to support the delivery of low carbon DER to reduce peak energy use and improve the resilience capabilities of urban landscapes by enhancing access to reliable electricity supply.”

According to the report, energy storage has experienced significant growth in the past 2 years due in part to its unique ability to support the deployment of flexible energy capacity. The emergence of energy storage’s ability to make DER more flexible, less carbon-intensive, and more resilient is redefining how smart energy solutions can support the sustainability needs of an integrated smart city technology and solutions platform.

The report, Smart Cities and Energy Storage, examines the role energy storage can play in smart cities and how smart cities can drive the deployment of energy storage. The study provides an overview of energy storage applications within smart cities, including drivers and barriers for energy storage, and discusses how energy storage works within an integrated energy as a service framework. It also analyses the role of energy storage in the delivery of low carbon peak energy and improving resilience.

An Executive Summary of the report is available for free download on the Navigant Research website.

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Navigant Research report shows global Revenue for Lighting as a Service is expected to reach $2.6 bn by 2026

By Zenobia Hegde

A new report from Navigant Research examines the global market for lighting as a service (LaaS) solutions in commercial buildings, providing market forecasts for revenue through 2026, as well as details on related services and the competitive landscape.

LaaS is the third-party management of a lighting system, including additional maintenance, financial, technical, or operational services. As more lighting products and controls come to market, LaaS is expected to experience a boost from customers who need assistance in choosing and maintaining up-to-date technologies that can provide cost savings to their businesses.

“We are seeing a shift in the LaaS market from a traditional financing model to an increased number of turnkey services, which provide the customer with a full-scale offering from audit and design to installation to management and maintenance of the system,” says Krystal Maxwell, research analyst with Navigant Research.

“The as a service business model, which shifts business spending from CapEx to OpEx, allows companies to focus on their core business areas and ensures the outsourced business (LaaS) is being kept up to date with market developments by the service provider, especially through the growing number of turnkey services.”

Krystal Maxwell

According to the report, this shift in business spending is the beginning of a trend that is anticipated to become more common over the next 10 years. Additional market growth is expected to be driven by a maturing LED market, interest in the Internet of Things (IoT) applications, and increases to the bottom line.

The report, Lighting as a Service, examines the LaaS market for commercial buildings, with a focus on financing, maintenance, and turnkey services. The study addresses market issues, including key drivers and barriers, related to LaaS solutions. Global market forecasts for LaaS revenue, segmented by service type, building type, and region, extend through 2026. The report also examines the key services related to LaaS, as well as the competitive landscape. An Executive Summary of the report is available for free download on the Navigant Research website.

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Hybrid smartwatches to make up over 50% of smartwatch shipments by 2022, as fashion beats function

By Zenobia Hegde

A new report by Juniper Research found that hybrid smartwatches such as Fossil Q and Nokia Steel, which appear to be analogue watches but integrate some smartwatch functionality, will make up over 50% of the smartwatches market in 2022.

This means that nearly 80 million hybrid smartwatches will be shipped by 2022, up 460% from an estimated 14 million in 2017. However, digital display smartwatches, such as the Apple Watch and Fitbit Ionic, will increase by a more conservative 160%.

For more vendor insights, download Juniper’s complimentary whitepaper, Why Most Smartwatches ‘Fail’.

Smartwatches: A market of many niches

The new research, Smartwatches: Trends, Vendor Strategies & Forecasts 2018-2022, found that slower growth for digital display smartwatches has caused several manufacturers, like Motorola, Huawei and Sony, to leave the space. Those that remain are pivoting towards specific use cases, chief among them fitness, which Apple, Casio, Samsung and others have emphasised strongly in recent releases.

“The smartwatch market is refining itself into a series of specific use-cases”, remarked research author James Moar. “This is having an impact on every aspect of smartwatches, from their design for increasingly specialised uses to their sale in specific retailers. While most vendors cannot necessarily hope to reach a broad coverage, the industry as a whole is here to stay.”

Despite the renewed interest in hybrids, Juniper expects individual players to produce few smartwatches, with hybrid watch manufacturers generally shipping less than 2 million devices annually. Fossil, having released many display and hybrid smartwatches throughout its portfolio, is the exception here, and is forecast to ship over 6 million smartwatches annually by 2020.

More use cases, more connectivity

The report also found that different connectivity technologies are becoming more prevalent in a variety of smartwatches, with GPS expected to be present in nearly 50% of all smartwatches by 2022. In comparison, NFC’s growth will be small, as they are currently locked into specific ecosystems. Juniper do not expect this to change in the foreseeable future.

Juniper Research provides research and analytical services to the global hi-tech communications sector, providing consultancy, analyst reports and industry commentary.

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IoT Tech Expo: Leading IoT Event Announces Its 2018 World Series!

By IoT – Internet of Things

The World’s Leading IoT Event Series will bring together key industries from across the globe for 2 days of top level content and discussion. Exploring the latest innovations within the Internet of Things and covering the impact it has on many industries including Manufacturing, Transport, Supply Chain, Healthcare, Insurance, Logistics, Government, Energy and Automotive, this […]

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Robots will make logistics 10 times faster once L4MS has done its job

By Zenobia Hegde

The European Union (EU) is offering smaller manufacturers €8 million to close the funding gap and make their logistics 10 times faster. Better still, says Nick Booth, the money is ear-marked for spending on mobile robotics systems. This ‘open call’ is more like an open goal, surely.
The new Logistics for Manufacturing SMEs initiative (L4MS) is supported by the European Commission and promises to ‘accelerate’ the automation of intra-factory logistics of small- to medium-sized manufacturers.

It will achieve this by completely digitalising logistics automation in factories, allowing suppliers to create logistics systems that are 10 times faster and cheaper than now. But will L4MS really open the door to robotics, artificial intelligence and virtualisation?

According to project co-ordinator Ali Muhammad in Finland, L4MS will work with no infrastructure change, no production downtime and no in-house expertise.

Ali Muhammad

“Investment in logistics automation will become extremely attractive for European manufacturing SMEs and mid-caps,” says Muhammad.

The use of mobile robots will not only automate the logistics, which is half the production cost, but will also provide ‘unprecedented flexibility’ on the factory floor for batch production.

There’s more on the web site about the OPIL (Open Platform for Innovations in Logistics) and the 3D simulator that will virtualise the intra-factory logistics automation.

Big manufacturers are racing ahead as they can quickly adopt mobile robots to increase productivity. Meanwhile, the number of SMEs using advanced technologies is less than 2%. The L4MS initiative aims to raise their game. The first step is to help them to visualise the improvements that could be made – which is where the 3D simulator does its work. In tandem with an IoT platform, they can then automate much of the transport of goods and materials between factories and warehouses. This will speed up the process, improve safety and cut costs.

With the help of L4MS this ‘fork lift upgrade’ becomes a lot less painful and risky. In doing so it creates more competition in the IoT of Transport, which could otherwise become the domain of the behemoths. Which would ultimately stifle innovation.

Nick Booth

The use of mobile robots will not only automate the logistics – making up half of any manufacturer’s production costs – but create the flexibility needed to compete. Wasn’t flexibility the one major advantage that SMEs had over giant corporations? Automation threatens to neutralise that, which is a shame because we need SMEs to keep stoking up the competition.

The theory of the L4MS scheme is sound, says Nigel Smith, CEO of TM Robotics, because it is harder for SMEs to automate because of the investment needed. You need £50,000 (€56,600) at least and funding comes hard in the current climate. It’s the inflexibility of the big system integrators or robot providers that’s worse, says Smith. Finding a supplier that suits the SME’s production line needs, rather than dictates them, is the crucial battle in the war on costs.

So, it’s the people that may be intransigent. If only there was a way to automate their jobs!

By Nick Booth, freelance IT and communications writer

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