Meter data management systems face an inflection point, report finds


Bob Lockhart,
Senior Analyst,
Pike Research
Boulder, CO, U.S.A. — (METERING.COM) — September 6, 2011 – The current meter data management (MDM) system market faces an inflection point, with changes in focus from billing systems to grid operation efficiencies and more effective business processes, according to a new study from market analyst Pike Research.

Although MDM systems are nearly a decade old, where they will end up is still very much undecided, according to Pike Research. But on the basis of a 12-point evaluation, including go-to-market strategy, product portfolio, partnerships, innovation, global reach, market share, and staying power, the best positioned vendors are Oracle, eMeter and Itron.

Oracle attained the highest overall score due to its massive scale, geographic presence, technical innovations (including those of Sun Microsystems), and integration of MDM with other well-known Oracle products. eMeter and Itron each attained their status through slightly different approaches to the same issues.

“Market approaches to MDM range from minimalist to full feature,” said senior analyst Bob Lockhart. “Minimalist solutions are those where the MDM vendor simply captures data and provides a system of record for other application vendors to use. Full featured MDM solutions, on the other hand, include a wide range of applications under a single umbrella. Meanwhile, the competitive landscape is changing due to acquisitions such as Toshiba’s purchase of Landis+Gyr and Schneider Electric’s acquisition of Telvent.”

The report notes that alliances and partnerships abound in the MDM market. In the research, it appeared that nearly everybody is working with everybody. The recent announcement that Itron and Landis+Gyr will natively support each other’s communications technology shows the extent to which leading smart grid players will go to ensure that they are not locked out of business. Specialists such as eMeter and Ecologic Analytics depend heavily on partnerships to bring in MDM business because they have no AMI of their own. In contrast, Itron and EnergyICT benefit from a significant amount of pull-through revenue from their in-house AMI offerings.

The report also comments that Oracle and OSIsoft are not MDM specialists per se, but have attained their market mass by applying technologies that have been successful in other markets. Oracle is obviously leveraging its enterprise resource planning (ERP) suite, plus its ability to apply existing applications, such as its customer relationship management (CRM) offering, to this market. Meanwhile, OSIsoft has taken its three decades of experience with time series data and applied the same approach to capturing AMI data. In addition, it is making use of existing strong relationships with utility operations teams.

The other MDM vendors scored in the study were Ecologic, EnergyICT, OSIsoft, Aclara, North Star, Powel, Ferranti, and Telvent.