What is the Worth of Smart Meter Markets?
The worth of the smart meter markets is significant and expected to grow substantially, according to a report by IoT Analytics. From 2018 to 2024, the global smart metering market is projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6%, increasing from $9.5 billion to $13.7 billion.
The utilities sector is expected to remain the largest vertical for the low-power wide-area network (LPWAN) throughout the forecast period. In 2019, the utilities sector accounted for 38% of the installed base, which is projected to decrease to 30% by 2025. The adoption of LPWAN in smart metering projects, particularly in gas and water metering, is driving the growth in this sector.
In terms of market share, electricity metering holds the largest share in the global smart meter market. By 2024, electricity metering is expected to represent 64% of the market value. Water metering is forecasted to be the fastest-growing segment, with a CAGR of 8%.
Geographically, the Asia Pacific (APAC) region is leading the market, with 59% of global market shipments in 2018 valued at $3.9 billion. APAC is expected to maintain its lead through 2024, reaching a market value of $5.8 billion (60% of total shipments) at a CAGR of 7%. Europe and North America follow, with market values of $2.8 billion and $2.4 billion, respectively, in 2018, expected to grow to $4.2 billion and $3.1 billion in 2024.
The global smart meter penetration reached 14% in 2019, with residential metering dominating over commercial and industrial metering. Residential metering is estimated to account for approximately 80% of the total market value during the forecast period. Commercial and industrial metering is expected to contribute 15.5% and 4.5%, respectively, to the market value in the same period.
In terms of volume, considering all wireless and wired technologies, the smart electricity market has the largest share. IoT Analytics reports that 151 million new units are projected to be shipped in 2024. Water meter shipments were over 16 million in 2018 and are expected to grow at a CAGR of 10%, reaching just under 29 million in 2024. Similarly, gas meter shipments were over 14 million in 2018 and are expected to grow at a rate of 8% per year, reaching 23 million by 2024.
Advantages of LoRaWAN for Smart Metering
In the world of smart utilities, there are various methods to connect devices like meters. These can range from satellite and cellular connectivity to newer low-power radio options. For instance, LoRaWAN® has a large ecosystem of developers, suppliers, and providers, with 148 LoRaWAN® networks currently operating in 162 countries. Along with advanced grid infrastructure, this presents utility companies with a greater choice of applications and device manufacturers incorporating more widely deployed technologies.
Let’s look at some of the advantages that LoRaWAN® brings to the table for smart metering applications.
LoRaWAN® offers an exceptionally long communication range, measured in miles. This allows meters to be connected even in remote areas, ensuring widespread coverage.
The LoRaWAN® technology enables devices to have battery lifetimes of up to two decades. This means that meters can operate efficiently for extended periods without requiring frequent battery replacements.
LoRaWAN® excels in its ability to penetrate deep underground and indoor environments. This ensures reliable connectivity even in challenging locations, allowing meters to function effectively.
The implementation of LoRaWAN® networks is straightforward and cost-effective. This simplifies the process of deploying meters and reduces the associated expenses for utility companies.
LoRaWAN® offers a cost-effective solution for smart metering, making it an attractive option for utilities. This technology allows for the simultaneous management of diverse data, reducing computing and network costs. Moreover, LoRaWAN® supports firmware updates over the air (FOTA), ensuring long-term cost savings.
Prioritizing security, LoRaWAN® safeguards user information and protects utility networks from cyber threats. The technology incorporates secure key protocols, mutual authentication, integrity protection, and confidentiality measures, ensuring long-term security for utility devices.
With LoRaWAN®, utilities can efficiently manage the immense volume of data generated by smart metering. The technology enables intelligent meters that can analyze and send only useful data for processing, reducing both computing and network costs.
LoRaWAN® facilitates more frequent data collection, such as hourly or every-10-minute consumption indexes. This allows smart utilities to detect anomalies or leaks in water and gas networks, improving overall operational efficiency.
Disadvantages of LoRaWAN® for Smart Metering
Although LoRaWAN® is a popular technology for smart metering, it has some limitations. One of its main disadvantages is the limited bandwidth. The technology operates in the unlicensed frequency spectrum, which means the bandwidth is limited and shared with other devices. This can lead to congestion, particularly in densely populated areas with a high number of IoT devices.
Another disadvantage is the limited range. LoRaWAN has a range of up to 10 kilometres in rural areas with a clear line of sight, but in urban environments and with obstacles, such as buildings, the range can be significantly reduced.
Finally, scaling up a LoRaWAN® network can be challenging. Deploying a large-scale network requires careful planning and investment in infrastructure like gateways and antennas. It can also be costly to maintain and upgrade the network over time.
Electricity metering is the process of measuring the amount of electricity consumed by a household or a commercial building accurately. With the advent of smart metering, electricity meters are more than just a mechanism that tracks your power consumption.
In the past, traditional meters were manually read by utility technicians to calculate the monthly bill. It was a time-consuming and expensive process that often resulted in errors and inconsistencies. The introduction of smart metering is an excellent solution to this problem as it eliminates the need for human intervention and provides accurate, up-to-date energy usage information.
Smart meters that use LoRaWAN® technology have several advantages over the regular meter:
- Remote reading of energy usage data: LoRaWAN® connectivity allows remote reading of energy consumption data. Now, users do not have to wait for manual readings to see the data. The meter readings are updated every 15 minutes, allowing users to keep track of their energy usage more easily.
- Immediate detection of faults: Smart meters with LoRaWAN® technology constantly monitor energy usage patterns and immediately detect any faults in the system. This helps to identify faults and electrical hazards, allowing quick resolution of problems.
- Better energy efficiency: Smart meters with LoRaWAN® connectivity provide real-time data, including energy consumption at the appliance level. With this data, users can identify appliances that use excessive energy and adjust their energy usage to make their homes more energy-efficient.
Water metering is the process of measuring the amount of water consumed by residential, commercial, and industrial users. It plays a crucial role in managing water resources efficiently and understanding water usage patterns.
Traditionally, water meters have been manually read and recorded by utility companies, which can be time-consuming, expensive, and prone to human errors. However, smart metering technology has made water metering more accurate, cost-effective, and convenient.
Advantages of water metering with LoRaWAN® include:
- Accurate measurement: Smart water meters provide highly precise measurements, ensuring that customers are billed correctly and reliably.
- Cost savings: By eliminating the need for manual readings and reducing the frequency of on-site visits, smart water metering reduces operational costs for utility companies.
- Leak detection: Smart water meters can detect abnormal water consumption patterns, indicating potential leaks in the system. This allows for timely maintenance and reduces water loss.
- Customer empowerment: With access to real-time water consumption data, customers can monitor their usage, identify areas for conservation, and adjust their habits accordingly.
- Environmental sustainability: Smart water metering promotes efficient water use, contributing to the conservation of water resources and reducing the carbon footprint.
Gas metering is an essential part of any energy management system. It involves measuring the volume of natural gas or propane that flows through pipes into a consumer’s home or business.
By using LoRaWAN® technology to transmit real-time data, gas companies can track the usage of their customers’ gas meters remotely and in near real time. This allows for improved monitoring of gas consumption, which can help customers manage their energy usage better and lead to reduced wastage and costs.
Moreover, LoRaWAN® enabled gas meters can quickly detect leaks or other safety hazards. This can help prevent accidents and improve overall safety.
Security of Smart Metering
Aside from numerous benefits, smart meters also introduce vulnerabilities that can impact household security. They arise due to the central role of smart meters as the communication hub between utility companies and smart home appliances. Malicious actors, such as eavesdroppers and intruders, may target smart meters to manipulate utility data and gain control over home appliances.
One of the main concerns is the communication of fine-grained power consumption data from smart meters to utility companies. In many cases, this data is not encrypted, making it susceptible to unauthorized access. Additionally, the fine-grained consumption data can be analyzed to infer household activities, resulting in a breach of privacy.
To address these security issues, LoRaWAN® offers several solutions:
LoRaWAN® employs encryption techniques to ensure that the data transmitted from smart meters to utility companies remains secure. By encrypting the data, it becomes much more difficult for malicious actors to intercept and misuse it.
The technology ensures the physical security of smart meters through tamper-proof mechanisms. Unauthorized opening of the meter case triggers tamper event logs that are forwarded to the Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) center. This helps detect and deter physical attacks on smart meters.
Some smart meter vendors do not implement encrypted memory, making it easier for attackers to access the credentials used to administer the meters. LoRaWAN® addresses this issue by promoting the installation of secure memory, preventing unauthorized access to sensitive information.
LoRaWAN® recommends the use of challenge-response mechanisms and vendor-specific data encryption to authenticate laptops or handheld devices used by utility companies. This enhances the overall security of smart metering systems.
Updated Protocols and Designs
By promoting the use of robust communication protocols and designs, as well as employing up-to-date protocols and avoiding poor implementations, the vulnerabilities of smart meters can be significantly reduced.
Encryption for Wireless Protocols
An emphasis is put on the implementation of proper encryption algorithms for wireless protocols used by smart meters to communicate with smart home appliances. This ensures secure communication and limits the risk of interception by unauthorized parties.
Network Segmentation and Intrusion Detection
LoRaWAN® recommends utility companies segment their networks and use encryption to prevent attackers from compromising all the devices operated by a single utility. Implementing intrusion detection systems (IDS) also helps monitor smart meter networks for any intrusion attempts.
To protect consumer privacy, LoRaWAN® suggests implementing data obfuscation, homomorphic encryption, and secure multiparty computation schemes. These techniques enable arithmetic operations on encrypted or concealed meter readings, preventing utilities or third parties from accessing fine-grained consumption values without consent.
Regulations and Smart Metering
The deployment of smart metering systems entails compliance with various regulations to ensure consumer protection, data privacy, and system interoperability. One key regulation that governs smart metering is accuracy standards, which ensure that meters record energy consumption with a high level of precision and consistency. Another vital regulation is data privacy. It mandates the use of secure communication protocols and encryption mechanisms to safeguard consumer privacy and prevent data breaches.
Interoperability is also a significant aspect of smart metering regulations. To ensure compatibility and ease of integration, regulations dictate the use of open standards and protocols. This allows smart meters from different manufacturers to seamlessly communicate and exchange data with each other and with utility providers. Additionally, regulations may require the use of tamper-proof meters to prevent unauthorized tampering or manipulation of data. This ensures the integrity of the system and protects against fraud or illegal activities.
Examples of regulations in smart metering can vary across different countries and regions. For instance, in the European Union, the European Commission has implemented the European Union Third Energy Package, which includes regulations to promote smart metering deployment and ensure consumer benefits. In the United States, regulations are set at the state level, with some states having specific mandates for utilities to adopt smart metering technologies. Overall, regulations play a crucial role in ensuring the successful and responsible deployment of smart metering systems.
Alternative Technologies for Smart Metering
While LoRaWAN® is a widespread technology for smart metering, there are also other alternative technologies worth considering. These include:
Cellular networks, such as 4G and 5G, can provide reliable connectivity for smart metering. They offer good coverage and high data transmission rates, allowing for real-time data monitoring. However, cellular networks can be more expensive than other options, and their power consumption may not be as efficient as low-power options like LoRaWAN®.
Zigbee is a low-power wireless communication protocol that is widely used in smart home applications. It operates on the 2.4 GHz frequency and offers a range of up to 100 meters. Zigbee can be a cost-effective solution for smart metering within a small area, but its range may be a limitation for large-scale deployments.
Narrowband Internet of Things (NB-IoT) is a cellular network technology specifically designed for IoT applications. NB-IoT offers good coverage and low power consumption, making it suitable for smart metering. However, it may have higher latency compared to other options, and its deployment may require more infrastructure investment.
Wi-Fi is a widely available technology that can provide high-speed connectivity for smart metering. It operates on the 2.4 GHz or 5 GHz frequency and has a relatively short range. Wi-Fi can be a suitable option for smart meters located within proximity to a Wi-Fi access point, but its coverage may be a limitation for large-scale deployments.
TEKTELIC Solutions for Smart Metering
TEKTELIC offers innovative smart metering solutions that enable greater efficiency savings and reduced water waste. They are designed to measure and record the consumption of electricity, gas, water, and other resources in real time.
Smart metering solutions by TEKTELIC leverage LoRaWAN® to enable two-way communication between the utility provider and the consumer. This communication enables functionalities such as outage detection, load control, and pricing plans. Deciding to buy LoRaWAN sensors by TEKTELIC, smart utility owners get the opportunity to monitor environmental parameters like CO2, occupancy, lighting, and air quality.
This data is then transmitted to TEKTELIC’s LoRaWAN® gateways, which collect and transfer the data to the network server. It distributes the data to the application server, where users can visualize, analyze, and interpret the data using software applications on stationary and mobile devices.
TEKTELIC’s portfolio includes a range of reliable and versatile LoRaWAN gateways for smart metering deployments. Some of their specific products include:
- KONA Photon: Solar LoRaWAN® gateway for autonomous remote deployments.
- KONA Enterprise: Highly optimized, cost-effective gateway for enterprise deployments.
- KONA Macro: Scalable LoRaWAN® gateway for outdoor deployments.
- KONA Mega: Product for operators/enterprises that need a fully featured outdoor gateway.
- KONA Mega Ex: Scalable Zone 2 ATEX-rated gateway for extreme outdoor deployments.
Outdoor gateways by TEKTELIC are designed to withstand harsh weather conditions, lightning strikes, and unwanted interference from other networks, making them ideal for smart metering in urbanized areas. With a coverage range of up to 15 kilometres, you can connect thousands of sensors to a single gateway, allowing for comprehensive data collection from every corner of a city.
Looking to adopt smart metering solutions? Email us to learn more about our LoRaWAN® gateways!