14 January 2013 – One of the top 10 predictions by IDC Energy Insights is that utilities in Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) will spend more than US$17.5 billion on IT during 2013. Another prediction is that flexibility will be the new normal for smart grids implementation, and that regulatory procrastinations will hold back EMEA’s electricity smart metering market

It also predicts that smart grid communication approaches will continue to be heterogeneous, and consumer engagement will be the name of the game, while smart water spending will be kick-started in 2013. Other predictions are that public funding will back smart cities and that chief information officers (CIOs) will need resources capable of transforming operations. The enthusiasm for apps will see mobile fever hit utilities, and finally it is predicted that this year will see utilities embrace analytics to make sense of their big data.

"Utilities are under pressure across the EMEA region. Economic downturn in many European countries, more difficult conditions on capital and borrowing markets, and most importantly uncertainty about medium and long term return on investments are slowing down the smart energy transition. Nevertheless, renewable sources and distributed generation continue to develop, as well as investment in grids. We expect for instance that IT spend on network automation and control in EMEA will grow about 8% in 2013," Roberta Bigliani, head of EMEA, IDC Energy Insights, says.

"Flexibility will be the new normal for utilities and smart technologies are the cornerstone of the transformation across the entire value chain. Utilities will invest in analytics, mobility and cyber security. CIOs will consider alternative sourcing models to enable business agility and reduce IT investments. Different IT skill sets will be needed. Lack of a clear leadership and governance in the integration of OT/IT could undermine innovation."