Data is at the heart of intelligent process automation, but where does that data come from? Collecting accurate data remotely has always been a challenge for utilities. This has led to fragmented data collection systems that restrict the use of data analytics at the scale necessary to make a real difference to the business and to consumers.
With governments increasingly recognizing the need to control energy consumption and reduce waste, the requirement to make utilities smart is not only desirable, but also the law in many countries. Although the needs of electricity, gas and water utilities are different and highly specific, each utility type requires similar foundational technologies in terms of smart devices, connectivity and data processing.
The European Committee for Standardization (CEN) has officially created a new working group under its Technical Committee TC294 to specify a new adaptation layer for M-Bus protocol used mainly in smart water meters, smart gas meters and smart heat meters. This new working group, called CEN TC294 WG7, is led by expert from Birdz, a subsidiary of Nova Veolia, a successful leader in the European smart metering ecosystem, and member of the LoRa Alliance®. In 2019, Semtech hosted a webinar with Birdz to highlight its proven use cases for transforming municipal water distribution networks leveraging the LoRaWAN® protocol for greater efficiency and cost savings.
Following its origin 20 years ago, the Device Language Message Specification (DLMS) has become a universal standard for utilities. With a hundred million smart meters using DLMS installed worldwide, it is currently one of the most used smart metering standards today. On June 26, 2020, Semtech was approved by vote to join the board of the DLMS User Association during its recent general assembly.
In a webinar hosted by the LoRa Alliance® and moderated by Semtech, the President of the DLMS (Device Language Message Specification) User Association, announced the future release of the first DLMS profile over the LoRaWAN® protocol. The DLMS User Association and the LoRa Alliance have been collaborating for more than two years to define a reliable and secure way to support the DLMS protocol over a LoRaWAN network. Having proven the feasibility via several demonstrations in 2018, continuing into subsequent years at European Utility Week 2019 and the Indian Smart Utility Week in 2020, this new profile is a key achievement of the liaison that will provide reliability and interoperability in future implementations of DLMS over LoRaWAN.
In January 2020, Semtech joined the Euridis Association, an international non-profit industry association promoting the development of standards and protocols.
As the global market for smart water meters continues to grow, Semtech hosted, “Deploying Smart Water Meters: How to Transition from AMR to AMI with LoRa®-based Solutions from Birdz,” a webinar with Birdz, a subsidiary of Nova Veolia and a global leader in optimized resource management. The webinar discussed strategies for utility providers to improve meter efficiency by adopting fixed network solutions based on Semtech’s LoRa devices and the LoRaWAN® protocol.
In 2019, smart electricity meters will account for 63 percent of the nearly 200 million electricity meter shipments expected around the world, according to a 2018 IHS report. This volume of smart electricity meter shipments is forecasted to increase in size over the next five years. With the rise of low-power wide-area networking (LPWAN) technologies, such as Semtech’s LoRa® devices and the LoRaWAN® open protocol, new “smarter” metering solutions are proving to be a compelling alternative to other connectivity options for both Internet of Things (IoT) networks and smart grid applications. With several hundred known use cases (and growing), LoRa-based devices and LoRaWAN networks represent the leading choice for IoT solutions today.
European Utility Week (EUW) will be held November 12 to 14 in Paris, France, and all the biggest names in metering and utility management are preparing for an exciting event.
The market for smart utility meters is growing at a rapid pace. A recent report by ABI Research predicts there will be an installed base of 1.34 billion meters by 2023*. IHS Markit forecasts almost 50 million smart water meters will ship globally in 2023, a number which is roughly four times its size in 2017. Year over year, the number of new meter shipments for water, gas, heat and electricity is increasing at a rate of four to five percent according to IHS. Globally, the proportion of smart meters will soon exceed half of all meters shipped annually. The largest utility adopters of Internet of Things (IoT) technology for smart metering devices are electricity (64 percent), followed by gas (38 percent) and then water (26 percent). Behind these strong growth numbers, the adoption of smarter technologies for metering is predicted to continue for the foreseeable future.