Gulf smart energy projects boost economic diversification, efficiency

Smart energy -- IT-connected smart grids and smart meters -- play a growing role in the Middle East's effort to reduce reliance on oil.

Countries in the Middle East and North Africa region are investing in smart energy projects as they look to diversify their economies and boost economic efficiency on a mass scale.

Smart energy – a general term for systems in which energy production (often, renewable energy production) and infrastructure are integrated using various technologies and digital interfaces – is gaining popularity in Gulf countries like Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates due to a combination of government initiatives and private company spending.

Most of these initiatives include the installation of "smart meters" and "smart grids" designed to improve power distribution and boost efficiency. Smart grids can be considered a subset of the internet of things (IoT) concept: essentially networks of connected devices that collect information and provide a stream of data that can be analyzed and acted on. Smart grids typically consist of physical (generators, etc.) network, application and analytics layers.

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