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The growth in the Smart Grid and smart metering in Australia has made the local electrical utilities market one of the largest in the world for data analytics software, says one major vendor.

SAS Institute’s Tim Fairchild is Director of the company’s global utilities practice. He says that Australia’s vibrant utilities market, and the need to analyse the massive amounts of data new Smart Grid technology is generating, made Australia SAS’s second biggest utilities market globally last year, after only the USA.

“We’ve seen large growth in the market worldwide, but growth in Australia has been massive,” Fairchild told iTWire. He is visiting Australia and New Zealand to talk to some major SAS customers in the energy and water space.

He said the main reasons for Australia’s strong growth in utilities analytics were the strong economy, the very competitive energy market, and the growth in technology like smart meters which meant that electricity distributors and retailers now had vastly more customer and network data to analyse.

“Electricity utilities in particular are awash with data. There is massive complexity and uncertainty. It’s a very imperfect world.”

SAS is the world’s largest privately owned software company, with revenues of nearly $3 billion. Once better known as a purveyor of techie statistical tools, has made a major transition over the last decade to a more solution-based company. Its first such products were in horizontal markets like financial management, but it has now branched into targeting vertical markets – industry sectors such as banking, health, hospitality, and now utilities.

Fairchild said the utilities market was one of the fastest growing areas for SAS. “No other industry has more potential for the application of advanced analytics. It’s not just electricity – it’s advanced transportation, water technologies, renewable energy and energy efficiency. Water we think will be particularly important – you can live without those other things, but you can’t live without water. And they’re not making any more of it.”

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Graeme Philipson

Graeme Philipson is senior associate editor at iTWire and editor of sister publication CommsWire. He is also founder and Research Director of Connection Research, a market research and analysis firm specialising in the convergence of sustainable, digital and environmental technologies. He has been in the high tech industry for more than 30 years, most of that time as a market researcher, analyst and journalist. He was founding editor of MIS magazine, and is a former editor of Computerworld Australia. He was a research director for Gartner Asia Pacific and research manager for the Yankee Group Australia. He was a long time IT columnist in The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald, and is a recipient of the Kester Award for lifetime achievement in IT journalism.

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