Two-way smart water meters are the fastest growing segment of the global water measurement market according to new research from global information company IHS Technology.
Smart water metering technology will hold a 29 per cent share of the meter market by 2020, up from 18 per cent in 2013, the report finds.
The value of the market will expand to US$1.1 billion in 2019, compared to US$575 million at the end of 2013, with managed services, analytics and smart water network adoption all combining to accelerate growth, states the research.
Smart water meters: growth in Europe
The reports finds that although North America is a leading consumer of two-way water meters as part of advanced metering infrastructure systems, Europe is seeing the strongest growth.
France is the fastest-expanding market of all major countries worldwide, with smart meter penetration approaching the 50 per cent mark.
Following France in Europe are the UK, Ireland and Germany - all countries experiencing a rapid transition to adopting two-way smart water meters, said the report's author Michael Markides, associate director for smart utilities infrastructure at IHS.
Funding new metering technology
The study also highlights that utilities that to date have not been able to justify upgrading their meters to an AMI network are being given new opportunities to do so.
In such cases, vendors in the space are evolving their solutions toward the so-called managed services model, eliminating the initial need for capital outlays while offering much-needed expertise.
Mr Markides said: “Increasingly, utilities will be able to invest in modern technology where they couldn’t previously, as vendors lessen capital spending requirements and radically improve return on investment by hosting many of the utility operations on their own.
"In turn, this allows for maximum value to be realized from new hardware electronics, software and analytics.”
Smart water network
The smart water network is now a common theme coming from water industry technology vendors, says Markides.
The evolution of new technology on the water delivery network is leading to a greater system-wide view, especially as the full potential of smart water networks is becoming better understood.
Alongside the growth in new technology, however, the supply base has been maturing as well.
Because of this, vendors have noted the difficulties that water utilities must account for when weighing how to justify investing in new technologies. Not only has qualifying capital spending always been difficult for water utilities, vendors have also noted that many water utilities simply lack the ability to effectively use new technology.
Consumer app for water analytics
In other smart water meter news, flow measurement manufacturer Badger Meter has launched an updated version of its consumer mobile application EyeOnWater.
The app, available for customers of water utilities that have implemented the Beacon Advanced Metering Analytics solutions, gives consumers access to water consumption data and provides tools to help them manage their water use.
Features of the mobile app include graphics showing recent usage with a comparison against average usage; usage trends; detailed charting of historical usage; a leak alert function; and recommendations to conserve water, with the ability to set up a customized profile to receive personalized tips and access to a savings calculator.