GTM Research forecasts cumulative global spending on power utility data analytics to top $20 billion over the next nine years, with an annual spend of $3.8 billion globally by 2020. GTM’s latest report, The Soft Grid 2013-2020: Big Data & Utility Analytics for Smart Grid, forecasts grid operations analytics will see the most significant investment, with consumer analytics as the second largest area. The report forecasts U.S. utilities alone will spend nearly $100 per home in grid operations and consumer-related analytics over the next nine years.

FIGURE: Global Utility Analytics Spending, 2012-2020

Source: The Soft Grid 2013-2020: Big Data & Utility Analytics for Smart Grid

This 133-page report from GTM Research is the first of its kind to take a competitive look at power utility data analytics, the smart grid’s next big growth market. With smart meters and distribution sensors beginning to populate “big data” from every corner of their territories, utilities must seek out data analytics solutions capable of managing this incoming data and realizing the promise of the smart grid.

“With the influx of big data, the potential of smart grid has shifted dramatically from the original aim of adding a myriad of new devices toward a complete re-invention of the way utilities do business,” said Rick Thompson, President and Co-Founder at GTM Research. “We are now moving into a market where the spotlight will be on the data analytics software that will allow utilities to track, visualize and predict everything from grid operations to electricity consumption. These capabilities are the core elements of what GTM Research calls the 'soft grid.'”

Driving growth of the utility soft grid are data technologies, ranging from open-source data management platforms like Hadoop, to massively parallel processing (MPP) big data appliances, to predictive analytics now catching fire in every industry, to the cost improvements and enhanced performance of underlying data storage and infrastructure layer.

Supporting this technology shift is a rich ecosystem of vendors. While the biggest names in IT are positioning themselves to be at the head of the class, it is becoming apparent that there will be several seminal companies that will be launched in this soft grid space, to which utilities will look for new products and services.


FIGURE: Leading Vendors in Soft Grid

Source: The Soft Grid 2013-2020: Big Data & Utility Analytics for Smart Grid


GTM Research analyzes more than 60 vendors in this report and identifies the following companies and their technologies as potential market leaders in each segment of the soft grid market:

  • Analytics & Applications: Opower, SAS, Space-Time Insight
  • Data Infrastructure & Storage: Cisco (NASDAQ:CSCO), IBM (NYSE:IBM), VMware (NYSE:VMW)
  • Data Management & Movement: Accenture (NYSE:CAN), IBM, SAS, Teradata (NASDAQ:TDC)

For more information on the soft grid and GTM Research’s latest report, visit