Electrical connectors used throughout smart grids could come under remote observation and control with predictions of greater investment into distribution automation (DA).
Pike Research, which specialises in studies of modern energy-saving technologies and electrical infrastructure, has identified DA as a focal point for utility providers over the coming years.
Senior analyst Bob Gohn says: "In many cases, we expect that DA will yield stronger return on investment than smart meters or other high-profile smart grid initiatives."
The technology could provide remote monitoring of electrical connectors in intelligent electricity grids, feeding back to the supplier on issues such as efficiency, reliability and energy conservation.
However, investment may also be required in secure telecommunications networks to carry that information to the energy provider.
Pike Research recently predicted that telecommunications security will be the greatest area for investment in protecting smart grids against cyber threats as the uptake of next-generation distribution systems progresses.