Water utilities and LPWA networks to bring new growth in smart meter market
Growth in smart meter shipments by water utilities during the next decade, alongside higher sales of smart gas meters, will offset a decline in smart electricity meters, which have underpinned the market to date. Asia Pacific will remain the biggest market for smart meters, followed by Europe and North America.
Analyst house ABI Research said the growth among water utilities will be spurred by the increase in low-power wide-area (LPWA) networks, running in both licensed and unlicensed spectrum, notably as the LoRaWAN and NB-IoT standards, respectively.
Adarsh Krishnan, principal analyst at ABI Research, said: “LPWA network technologies will be popular choices for these metering segments with LoRaWAN technology from ZTE CLAA in China and TATA communications in India competing with telcos’ NB-IoT networks in the region.”
At the same time, the operational environment for smart meter set-ups will become increasingly sophisticated, with new machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) tools.
Krishnan commented: “Operating in data-rich environments, energy utilities are starting to spend more on implementing analytics platforms using AI to not only improve customer experience but also to improve energy efficiency, reliability and identify early potential infrastructure and service issues.”
ABI Research said annual shipments of smart meters across all utilities will climb from 151 million units in 2018 to 193 million by 2026, at a compound annual growth rate of 3.2 per cent.
This growth through 2026 will be attended by double-digit revenue growth in the shorter term, over the next five years, it said. Demand from water utilities will buoy the market, as shipments of smart electricity meters contract, and slow revenue growth in the market overall.
ABI counted request-for-proposals (RFPs) for 10 million 2G and 3G smart meter installments from government-owned public utilities in 2018. The installed base of smart electricity meters will reach 617 million in 2018.
Asia Pacific will remain the largest market for smart metering, as India, finishing up a number of pilots, prepares electricity meter rollouts to over 300 million metering points, and China gears up large-scale gas and water meter deployments.
Europe and North America will also post growth. The European Union wants smart electricity meters and smart gas meters in at least 80 per cent of households. The rollout of smart electricity meters and gas meters in the United Kingdom, France, Spain, Netherlands, and Poland will see growth in the region that will peak in 2021.