Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Europe and US take different routes to smart meters

When it comes to the roll-out of smart meters by power and water utilities it seems that the US and Europe are taking different approaches.

According to market analyst IMS Research, in the US it is wireless mesh networks which are most likely to be used for providing sensor communications links.

In Europe and Asia it looks like powerline communications will play a bigger part in the roll-out of smart meters.

North American smart meter shipments exceeded 8 million units in 2009 and a third were based on RF mesh networks, said IMS.

A further 7 million RF-Mesh meters could be shipped this year, said the analyst.

“It is clear now that RF Mesh is a popular choice for utilities looking to implement smart grid technologies in North America,” said senior analyst Michael Markides.

See: RFMD works with Ember to add ZigBee to smart meters
Click here to find out more!

While in Europe, namely Spain and France, shipments of PLC-based smart meters are predicted to double in the near-term.

“These expected rollouts in Europe will give the market a surge beginning in late 2010, with further market volume realized globally as anticipated PLC shipments of smart meters begin in China in 2012, and onwards,” said Markides.

While Spain and France are strong adopters of PLC smart meters, Markides believes Ireland will head toward wireless communications.

“But what about the UK, Germany and the Netherlands?” asked Markides.

“Solutions other than PLC are in play here due to more complicated and layered electric utility structures in each of these regions,” he said.