Smart meter installations to support European meter data management market

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Although the scope for meter data management (MDM) in Europe is currently limited, the market is expected to take off in the foreseeable future. The main driver for the adoption of MDM solutions is the need for utilities to manage and use the growing volume and variety of data created by widespread smart meter installation.

As awareness grows on the importance of high-volume data management and data pattern analytics, MDM will become an important investment category for the deployment of smart meters.

New analysis from Frost & Sullivan finds that despite investments, the pace of implementation of smart meters differs by country. Majority of European countries are running pilots while others are preparing for mass rollouts.

Initially, demand for MDM solutions will come from large distribution system operators with many mid-size companies following suit.

"Although many utilities still fail to consider smart metering as a software project, the number of those that demonstrate strong interest in energy loss reduction and asset management is on increase," said Frost & Sullivan Information and Communication Technologies Research Analyst Ewa Tajer. "Consequently, MDM solutions will evolve into smart grid platforms."

What may hamper the implementation of additional MDM functionalities is utilities' approach to innovation. Due to a lack of ICT experience, utilities are concentrating on potential risks and strongly focus on the basic functionalities related to data acquisition, meter management, and simple consumption information. This approach may prevent many of them from fully capitalizing on the potential of MDM.

Finding a balance between cost and functionality is, therefore, crucial. MDM vendors' priority is to allow for future enhancements.

"Utilities will develop their IT environment step by step, adding new functionalities in the course of time," added Tajer. "Therefore, vendors expand their portfolio with analytics hoping for an increase in profits. Existing participants are building up their capabilities either by organic growth or acquisitions. New entities are entering the market by expanding their portfolios or trying to tap opportunities by entering into partnerships with MDM providers."

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