Business challenges for Smart Grid development

CMI’s 7th annual International Conference: Mobile Communications in Developing countries was held in Copenhagen, Denmark, on November 17-18. The event was a great opportunity to share interesting information regarding mobile communications in developing countries.

The conference had a interdisciplinary approach where technical, business and social researchers got together and shared their thoughts on Mobile Communications in developing countries. The assistants had the chance to learn from mobile payment experiences in Africa to the interesting technology development in Butan.

One of the recurrent conclusions from the presenters was the increasingly amount of mobile communications in developing countries and how this development can crucially change communities.

Our contribution to the conference was the presentation of our paper “A comparative study of smart grid development in developed and developed countries”. providing insights on the different stages of development in different countries and its commonalities and differences. The paper aims to provide a complete techno economic analysis on Smart Grid and introduces the business challenges identified regarding collaboration between actors, definition of standards and business challenges in different countries.

Depending on the country and its characteristics and situation, Smart Grid development can be very different. The process of assessing Smart Grid developmeny is done by evaluating the following techno-economic aspects: Technology development, Public initiatives, Regulator policies and Economic situation/Business perspective of the country. The article is concluded by showing that regulator policies regarding the level of liberalization in the energy market are a key element when defining business strategies and different stages of Smart Grid communications development has a critical influence in the definition of business models, as it defines the key activities, partners and value proposition for the business.

After presenting the paper an interesting discussion started, exchanging opinions on why the business models for Smart Energy are still not there. Basically the discussion was why operators and energy providers are not getting along and developing business partnerships that would enable fast Smart Energy development. The main conclusion of this discussion was that these two huge industries need to communicate and understand each other requirements and technology options.

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