Palmisano said that the electrical infrastructure needs to be further digitized with a focus on the consumer, reports CNET. He says a key concern is that energy consumers have still not fully bought into the smart grid.
Another issue that threatens the success of a smart grid is consumer concerns over security and privacy, which Palmisano said must be addressed by industry and policy, according to CNET.
Palmisano believes that improving the U.S. electric-transmission grid depends on providing better information to consumers, and companies shouldn’t wait for government to set standards for a “smart grid,” which lets consumers monitor and cut their energy use, reports Bloomberg Businessweek.
He said that utilities should give consumers ways to “control energy uses and in a way that engages their hearts and minds in taking a more active role in doing so,” rather than providing them with dashboards that show their energy use, reports CNET.
Palmisano also said that a systems engineering approach will be needed to modernize the electrical grid rather than the piecemeal upgrades currently ongoing today.
Smart meters and sensors will give system operators more information but the system needs to be more resilient and efficient, Palmisano added. “The most important point is not how much data there is. It’s what the data can tell us.”