The first big reveal: Zpryme, FierceSmartGrid research

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The first month's results of the Smart Grid Index (SGI) – the research collaborative between Zpryme Research and FierceSmartGrid – have produced some interesting results.

From November 1 to November 7 2012, the research surveyed 240 smart grid executives online. The total sample was broken down into groups: vendors (70%), utilities (10%) and total sample (which may not add up to 100% due to rounding).

Relatively speaking, the data shows utilities are optimistic about the possibilities smart grid holds.

For example, 68 percent of utilities expect their smart grid expenditures to increase over the next 12 months, and 75 percent expect to submit new smart grid proposals for budget approval over the next 12 months.

"As government support for smart grid projects run out, utilities will have to build strong business cases to get smart grid projects approved," noted Jason Rodriguez, Zpryme's CEO and director of research. "Thus, utilities will increasingly demand that vendors present reliable and verifiable performance data about their respective products before utilities seriously consider purchasing new smart grid technologies."

As far as new hires in the realm of smart grid, 56 percent of utilities expect the number of staff in smart grid related roles to increase over the next 12 months.

"Despite projections that the overall number of smart grid-related hires would decrease in 2012 (according to a Zpryme/SmartGridCareers.com Smart Grid Hiring Trends study), anticipated hiring activity (measured by the number of open requisitions advertised in the marketplace) has increased dramatically in the second half of the year," said Heather Anusbigian, chief marketing officer and chief operating officer of SmartGridCareers.com

"While an increase is typical when the year-end approaches due to the need to fulfill budgeted requisitions, we saw an incremental increase in the third quarter which looks like it will continue through the end of the year. Hiring activity seems to remain concentrated among the mid-sized technology vendors, as the behemoths of the industry continue to assess human resources needs after restructuring from mergers, acquisitions and other changes in ownership," she said.

Next month's research will occur from December 3 through December 10.  If you would like to participate in the monthly research, please email sgi@zpryme.com.

– Barb