More than 20 million smart meters shipped in last quarter of 2012

This represents year-over-year growth of 182.7 percent and a 33.9 percent increase over the third quarter of 2012

Worldwide smart meter shipments surpassed 20.6 million units in the fourth quarter of 2012 (4Q12), representing year-over-year growth of 182.7 percent and a 33.9 percent increase over the third quarter of 2012, according to IDC Energy.

Europe and the IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission) standards market lead the first wave of smart metering, beginning with Enel's deployment in Italy a decade ago. The IEC market was overtaken by the ANSI (American National Standards Institute) market in 2009, as mandated deployments and ARRA (American Recovery and Reinvestment Act) funded projects began to gain steam in North America.

In 2012, momentum has again shifted back towards the IEC markets, lead this time by the methodical establishment of smart metering infrastructure in China.

The wave of ARRA projects has crested, and shipments in the Americas continue to decline, falling 10.8 percent quarter over quarter and 47.7 percent year over year.

Shipments in EMEA have increased 1.9 percent over 3Q12 and 36.6 percent year over year, though growth has thus far proven much more modest than projected by the E.U. 20-20-20 plan. Meanwhile, smart meter shipments in Asia/Pacific are driving the global AMI market, exploding by 48.9 percent sequentially and 779.6 percent year over year.

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