Information is the lifeblood of every organization. As utilities transition to the smart grid and expand it over time with the installation of millions of intelligent endpoints including smart meters and other devices, they must address the challenge of how to take advantage of the flood of data that will be generated by these devices. According to a new report from Pike Research, the software and services that will enable smart grid data analytics will represent one of the largest growth opportunities in the utility sector over the next few years, increasing from a relatively small market of $356 million in 2010 to nearly $4.2 billion in annual revenue by 2015.

“Smart grid utilities are evolving into brokers of information,” says industry analyst Marianne Hedin. “The ‘data tsunami’ that will wash over utilities in the coming years is a formidable IT challenge, but it is also a huge opportunity to move beyond simple meter-to-cash functions and into more robust business intelligence capabilities, true situational awareness with real-time optimization of their operations, and even predictive analytics.”

Hedin adds that the emerging competitive landscape for smart grid data analytics, like most nascent technology sectors, is highly fragmented with a mix of large, established players and smaller, specialized firms that come from many industries. Among the large IT players, there are the big, established companies like Accenture, Capgemini, HP, IBM, Microsoft, Oracle, SAIC, SAP, Siemens, and Teradata. Pure-play data analytics companies, mostly with meter data management (MDM) expertise, include Aclara Software, Ecologic Analytics, eMeter, Itron, Olameter, and NorthStar Utilities. And other contenders include companies as diverse as Infosys, OPOWER, OSIsoft, Telvent, and Toyota. At this stage of the race, says Hedin, the competitive field is wide open.

Pike Research’s analysis indicates that in 2009, the smart grid data analytics software market was only slightly smaller than the services segment. In the coming years, however, services will continue to grow in market share, and by 2015 will represent approximately two-thirds of utilities’ total spending for data analytics.

Pike Research’s report, Smart Grid Data Analytics, examines global and regional smart grid data analytics software and service trends, analyzes key market drivers and barriers, and forecasts market size and growth prospects by region and different service segments from 2009 through 2015.