In depth: closing the smart meter circle – the importance of software


How can utilities increase performance and reliability of the functionality in connected devices?

The figures are enough to make any mind boggle, even in the burgeoning technology of machine to machine (M2M) communications and the wider ‘Internet of Things’. Just take what’s happening in homes: by 2020, there will be more than 850 million smart electric energy meters alone in the world’s major economies – about half in China, according to a report by communications provider Telefónica. And smart meters are just the tip of the iceberg – all manner of other utility and home appliance systems will be communicating with consumers and providers: from smart thermostats to alarm systems to the butt of many jokes, the fridge that tells you when it’s running out of milk.

The rapidly expanding home automation and M2M markets give traditional utility suppliers not only a new route to greatly improving customer engagement and value, especially with the Smart Meter Implementation Programme, but also a way of moving beyond their core business into all manner of new home systems.

But there’s a ‘perfect storm’ of factors that could derail efforts to develop this market.The sheer volume of device rollout and the subsequent amount of data involved takes companies – and their customers – firmly into the realm of ‘big data’. This brings challenges in data processing, performance, storage and security. At stake is the trust of customers in their suppliers and in the technology – and already there are movements to resist the installation of smart meters owing to the ‘big brother’aspect of…..

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