Implementing IOT - Is Your Electrical Network Ready?

Published On: Oct 31, 2018


Does electrical power impact collection, organizing, storage and analysis of data?
That’s the central question, as we discuss the role of electricity in ‘smart’ ecosystems of the future. The answer, however, is not so simple. The availability and reliability of electric power with high quality is crucial for the running of IoT enabled systems. Every IoT initiative relies on advanced and sensitive electronics. These devices demand a steady voltage, current and frequency, as compared to other electrical load on the network. The Power Quality of the electrical network – which defines the electrical boundaries for any equipment to perform as desired and for an expected duration (life), directly and indirectly affects the ease of data exchange and analysis that are central to every IoT project.

UNDERSTANDING THE IMPACT OF POOR POWER QUALITY IN ENABLING IOT

The direct impact of poor power quality is really on the very devices that are meant to collect data, forming the neural network of IoT a sensitive area. The indirect impact is mostly the adverse reaction of electrical devices such as a motor, generator, server, an automated machine or any appliance, about which the data is being acquired.

Often, in instance of a data loss or damage of sensitive electronic equipment critical to IoT, it is difficult to point to a root cause. As IoT scales up to connect larger set of devices in the universe, such instances of unattributed failures can be detrimental to the successful implementation.

Given below is a practical overview of how poor power quality can adversely impact the IoT ecosystem and ways and means to address the same. You can also explore the huge library of articles on this site to develop a better understanding of the indicators of poor PQ mentioned below.

ENABLING IOT - THE ELECTRICAL NETWORK HEALTH CHECKLIST

BETTER PQ – THE POWER BEHIND A SEAMLESS IOT!

With the addition of even more number of non-linear loads in the electrical network, the state of power quality will only worsen in the times to come. Improving and controlling the reliability of power systems through load management, better energy-storage methods and assimilating the adverse impact of renewable power generation sources on Power Quality are critical to success of IoT initiatives.

Implementation of IoT in industrial and consumer markets will introduce new challenges in to the electrical and electronic infrastructure mostly concerning the need improve the levels of power quality. Here are some examples of how an unhealthy electrical network will put the rewards from IoT at risk.

  • IT Snags caused by Power Quality issues can lead to production outages in a cloud controlled manufacturing environment
  • Poor signal capture from sensors, due to voltage irregularities, can lead to data errors and create further risks to safety (non-functional temperature sensor can lead to uncontrolled rise in temperature eventually leading to fire in a centrally controlled industrial process)
  • Reliability and availability are critical to the desired functioning of IoT enabled consumer goods, expected to make decisions based on data. For instance, errors in memory or overheating of a data processing unit can send erroneous commands and put health and safety of the consumers to a great risk.

A secure and reliable connected world requires an array of protection systems to manage and maintain good power quality. The consequences of poor power quality will impact critical assets in IoT on multiple levels – business continuity, RoI and safety.

CONCLUSION

The first movers in IoT – whether it’s a smart city project or a smart factory, must take action to prevent the problems emanating from poor Power Quality. Among the various measures, a thorough assessment of Power Quality and how it can adversely impact key links in IoT must be performed proactively. It will be very worthwhile to consider the prescribed Power Quality standards when selecting IoT equipment and power distribution devices. Above all, IoT evangelists must be aware of measures to be taken, such as power protection and restoring technologies, power conditioning or other interface devices that aid to prevent PQ problems.

REFERENCES

  1. https://blog.schneider-electric.com/power-management-metering-monitoring-power-quality/2018/01/11/iot-for-power-distribution-taking-reliability-and-efficiency-to-new/
  2. http://www.iotglobalnetwork.com/iotdir/2016/07/08/power-quality-for-the-smart-generation-1718/
  3. https://www2.deloitte.com/insights/us/en/focus/industry-4-0/smart-factory-connected-manufacturing.html
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