In the near future, the Internet of Things (IoT) will enable billions of smart devices to sense, respond, communicate and share data. Those things will also have the ability to generate, buy and sell their own electricity.

Now imagine if each household that has the ability — and a lot of these things — to generate and store electricity can enter into automated, peer-to-peer transactions with neighbours or sell power back into the grid at the market rate, rather than through a third-party utility.

But first, consider the aging energy grid of today, which is from the industrial age — large central sources broadcasting power to “dumb” appliances. This will have to change.

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Alex Tapscott