As pressures of climate change and water wastage rise, smart water meters are becoming increasingly critical for global water conservation efforts by utilities to track water usage and identify waste and leakage. This drive for digitalization of water utilities distribution network will result in an installed base of 400 million smart water meters worldwide by 2026, according to a new report from global tech market advisory firm, ABI Research.
Since smart meters produce a massive amount of data, Meter Data Management (MDM) systems are essential to convert meter data into useful and actionable insights. “As in the energy sector, MDM platforms play a crucial role in the efficient use of a smart meter,” says Harriet Sumnall, Research Analyst at ABI Research. “It is vital for water utilities to be able to extract the most useful data from the smart water meters, as this is what ensures the meters reduce water wastage from leakages and water classified as non-revenue water.”
However, energy MDM’s are not automatically suited for water utilities as they don’t necessarily address their unique needs. The specific functionalities of scalability and the ease and speed of integration are the hard requirements of the MDM platforms for water utilities choosing which vendor and service will work alongside their Automatic Meter Infrastructure (AMI) systems. Having a complementary MDM platform that works effortlessly alongside the AMI system means that utilities can offer consistent and more accurate billing to their customers, as well as pinpoint where water is going missing.
Regional smart water meter deployments are forecasted to grow significantly. In 2018, the APAC region accounted for 42% of the global total installed base, followed by Europe and North America. In the APAC region, smart water meter deployments will surge as water utilities in China, India, Japan, and South Korea start to move from trials to large scale deployments in early 2020. Europe will emerge as one of the fastest- growing markets with a CAGR of 33% over the next 8 years driven by expanding regional LPWA network coverage. As the number of install bases increase, so will the demand for water-specific MDM platforms, offering much regional growth opportunity for MDM vendors.
Globally, there are several large-scale commercial rollouts of smart water meters planned, from a range of vendors such as Kamstrup, Sensus, Honeywell, Itron, and Holley Technology. Due to the variety of meter vendors, it is essential that MDM vendors ensure that MDM platforms can support multi-vendor smart meter implementation by water utilities. If this is not possible, it will mean that specific vendors are limiting their competitive edge as they are only allowing for themselves to integrate with specific vendors; this is usually found in turnkey solutions from primarily meter vendors offering a platform service to complement their meters.
Energy MDM platforms can become unnecessarily complex due to vendors adding functionalities that are not necessarily required for the water market. “The traditional energy MDM platform vendors such as Siemens and Oracle need to ensure they are offering what the water utilities require for their specific MDM platform, rather than just modifying the solution they already provide to the energy utilities. The MDM platform from Birdz for example, provides a better effort at specifically addressing the water utilities hard requirements. Their platform is also well suited to collect and analyze meter data in a multi-vendor meter implementation,” Sumnall concludes.
These findings are from ABI Research’s Intelligent Water Distribution Networks application analysis report. This report is part of the company’s M2M, IoT & IoE research service, which includes research, data and analyst insights. Based on extensive primary interviews, application analysis reports present in-depth analysis on key market trends and factors for a specific technology.
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