Improving process efficiency (also here, here, here and here) is a major challenge for the utility industry. Geospatial technology is a key technology that helps utilities improve the efficiency of their business processes (such as designing-constructing-maintaining and operating their network infrastructure) and the productivity of their staff.
An analysis a couple of years ago by Research and Markets entitled Global GIS market in the Utility industry 2012 - 2016 identified the key factors driving this market growth. These include the growing need for knowledge infrastructure, data quality, managing the mobile workforce, and changing the organizational structure of utilities. .
A Navigant report identified a history of poor GIS data quality as a major problem in the utility industry and reported that poor GIS data quality is an area of significant concern for smart grid planners who plan to use GIS as a foundational data layer for interoperable grid operational processes. I have blogged about the challenge of data quality in the utility industry on a number of occasions.
A major challenge for small to medium utilities is the increasing penetration of IT in the utility sector driven by the industry transformation associated with the smart grid. Small to medium utilities often don't have the in-house IT skills or the budget to implement GIS and other applications required by the industry move to smart grid.
Research and Markets has just released a report that covers the present global utility GIS market and its projected growth prospects for the period 2014-2018. The report covers the Americas, and the EMEA and APAC regions. To estimate market size and vendor share, analysts lookd at revenue generated from sales of software, data, and services in several segments including traditional GIS, GPS, photogrammetry and remote sensing, geospatial engineering, and other GIS applications.
The report was prepared based on an in-depth market analysis with inputs from industry experts. Vendors included in the study are Bentley Systems Inc., GE Energy, Hexagon AB, Autodesk Inc., AvisMap GIS Technologies, Beijing SuperMap Software Co. Ltd., China Information Technology, Esri Inc., Google Map, Hitachi Zosen Corp., MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates Ltd., Pitney Bowes Inc. and the US Geological Survey.
The report forecasts that the global utility GIS market will grow at a CAGR of 9.27 % over the period 2014-2018 with improving process efficiency a key market driver.
A key market challenge for existing vendors is the increasing penetration of open-source geospatial software into the utility market. According to the report many small and medium-sized organizations that cannot invest heavily in GIS solutions choose open-source software.
The report also expects growing demand in the utility market for 3D GIS software. The analysis foresees that 3D GIS software is expected to play a major role in the increased adoption of GIS solutions in the utility industry. According to the report large vendors are developing 3D GIS software, which is expected to drive the growth of the Global GIS market in the Utility industry during the forecast period.