Social Links

Smart Meter Installations to Exceed 1 Billion by 2020

January 4, 2016 By Finley Engineering in

The installed bases of electrical, gas and water meters are all getting smarter – and healthy growth lies ahead in the smart meter market, according to ABI Research. The global installed base of smart meters will grow to exceed 1.1 billion within the next five years, ABI estimates in its ¨Utilities and Smart Grid¨ report. Smart Meter Installations Smart electricity meters will account for more than 72 percent of the total installed base of smart meters, but ABI’s research results indicate that smart water meter installations will grow faster. While plans and actual deployment of smart electric and gas meters in regions around the world is maturing, demand for smart water meters is on the rise, ABI points out. Concerns about water quality, supplies and aging infrastructure have been rising in prominence among governments and urban planners, as well as businesses and households. That’s opening up substantial market opportunities for OEMs, utilities and end-users, ABI senior analyst Adarsh Krishnan highlighted in a news release. Leading smart meter and AMI vendors including Itron, Landis+Gyr, Kamstrup, Diehl, Sensus and ARAD continue to dominate the global market, according to ABI. Water Smart Meter Growth Water utilities, particularly those in cities and urban areas, are increasingly concerned about their ability to sustainably manage water supplies and assure water quality. As a result, they’re expressing greater interest in investing in smart meters and associated low-power telecommunications network technologies. “Smart water meters and data analytics are more critical components for water utilities,” Krishnan pointed out. “They can help improve distribution efficiency by reducing leakages and also serve to implement and monitor the effectiveness of water conservation programs. That said, government needs to step in and take a more active role in fostering investments and deployment. ¨The lack of regulatory framework or a government mandate in the water sector has resulted in a lack of shared vision to modernize the water network,” he added. Smart Meter Technology Choosing the right telecom technology is a key element of any smart water meter network plans, considering that the meters are battery powered. According to ABI, any such technology needs to last more than 10 years and be able to propagate signals to and from smart water meters that lie underground and extend widely in geographic area. Wireless mesh networking and low-power WANs (LPWANs) are among the popular choices, with ABI seeing faster growth in the latter. ABI expects the number of smart meter wireless WAN connections will surpass wireless mesh connections by as much as 5 percent by 2021. Furthermore, both cellular and non-cellular LPWAN technologies that make use of licensed and unlicensed spectrum are contenders capable of meeting smart water meter network connectivity requirements. These include: LTE-M, NB-LTE, Sigfox, LoRa, Ingenu and FlexNet.