In Germany, Telefónica is launching a new machine to machine solution for electricity and gas providers, which will see SIM cards being inserted into smart meters.
Telefónica’s new service, Smart Meter Connect, will allow energy companies to read smart meters remotely through a mobile connection.
Telefónica is the first telecommunications provider in Germany to apply radio technology RF mesh to smart meters, according to Timo von Lepel, director B2B, at Telefónica in Germany.
Mr Lepel said: “For our new product we have found a particularly clever solution of connecting even the most remote areas to the mobile internet.”
Smart meters creating mini networks
Each smart meter will be fitted with an individual SIM.
As soon the meters finds a strong mobile network, it automatically transmits data from all the participants in its ad-hoc network to the utility provider. This allows customer’s meters to be read several times a day.
By using RF mesh, the mobile network that can reach down into a basement, where most electricity and gas meters in Germany are installed, the technology can bridge network distances of more than 100 meters, claimed Telefónica in a statement.
Comprehensive studies have shown that only 75% of electricity and gas meters in Germany are connected to at least one of the four mobile networks.
Telefónica is offering the latest solution as a managed service.
Germany’s smart meter needs
Despite Germany’s cost-benefit analysis of nationwide smart metering found to be against full-scale adoption, Germany’s energy agency – Deutsche Energie-Agentur (Dena) released an analysis of the smart meter rollout scenarios in July 2014 recommending the installation of smart meters and metering systems at more than 50 million metering points in Germany.
Dena estimates that the introduction of smart meters in the European country could reduce grid investment by 35% until 2030.
From assessing the benefits of and regulations needed for smart meters from the perspective of grid operators, the research found that smart meters can take pressure off the German electricity grid and reduce the need to expand the distribution grid until 2030, but this requires significant investment with one million metering points costing between €467 million and €837 million.