Telcos to benefit from boom in smart electric meters, claims report

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Competition among telco and software companies will help the smart electricity meter market be worth more than $7 billion by 2021, new research has claimed.

A report from IHS said there will be many winners within the connected electricity meter market, which was worth $4 billion last year.

It said the value and demand for data was growing at an ever increasing rate, which opens the market up to players wanting to build software platforms, data hosting, installation services and maintenance contracts, among other secondary products.

David Green, Research Manager at IHS Markit, said: "The networking infrastructure side of the smart metering picture is becoming increasingly competitive, especially as the pool of companies involved in the projects increases.

“For example, the influence of telecommunications companies and IT solutions providers on utility providers is growing in all regions, while the question for meter manufacturers continues to be centered on whom to partner with and to what extent.

"Although the impact on competitive landscape for meter hardware might not yet show it, big changes are also in the offing, as software, analytics and services grow in importance. Further merger and acquisition activity is definitely in play for the short term, as utility companies around the world get more comfortable discussing smart-grid applications, security and services with a wider array of potential suppliers.”

The report found the smart meter market was worth $4 billion last year, with 100 million units shipped. Telefónica and Telekom Austria are among the operators to have been involved in smart meter projects. These projects are expected to grow with the launch of NB-IoT products from next year.

Green said: “A number of factors came together to create such a strong smart meter market in 2015. At the top of the list, China continues to roll out massive numbers of smart meters, as part of the government’s 10-year plan.

He added: “The long-awaited European rollouts are gaining steam, with multiple countries installing millions of meters in 2015, and many more ramping up to that level in an attempt to meet their deadlines."