The metering industry was very different 10 years ago from what it is today. Then it was very much a niche market, with few entanglements. Automatic meter reading, still relatively young, was beginning to take off in a big way, driven by better billing and internal cost reduction requirements, but there were few solutions available and no multi-million systems had yet been installed. Deregulation was in its infancy in many markets and the community was much smaller than it is today.
It was against this background that the first metering conferences were launched – first Metering Europe in Madrid, then Metering America in Curaçao, Metering Africa in Nairobi and Metering Asia in Bangkok – opening up new opportunities for sharing experiences and networking in the world’s major markets. Subsequently these have been joined, as the industry has developed and evolved, both by more regionally focussed events in Latin and Central America, India, Australia and New Zealand and the Middle East, as well as by more industry focussed events on smart metering, smart grids and the newest, smart energy – bringing together smart metering and smart grids – as well as meter design.
Over the years many thousands of people have participated in the Smart Energy International events, witnessing and driving what have been the most rapid, and arguably the most exciting, developments in the history of metering. Nor is the pace going to slacken in the future: energy efficiency requirements are placing ever increasing demands on electric metering, the growing importance of gas as an energy source is stimulating new interest in gas metering, and demands for water conservation is focussing more widespread interest in water metering – not to mention the need to manage all this data and to foster the customer relationship.
As we celebrate the tenth anniversaries of these events in the coming months it is fitting to acknowledge the support that has made them possible, from throughout the industry – and both from the newcomers to long standing friends, many of whom have participated with us from the outset. Ten years ago few could have predicted with accuracy where the industry would be now. Today perhaps we have a better idea of where we will be ten years on, but it is more than likely there will be some surprises and unexpected developments along the way, and we look forward with anticipation to participating in – and reporting on – the period ahead.
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Jonathan Spencer Jones