O2 to aid smart meter roll-out in UK

Mobile operator O2 has signed a multi-million pound contract with UK smart meter operations service provider G4S Utility Services to simplify the remote management and monitoring of the company’s national smart meter network.

The partnership marks O2’s first move into the smart metering market, which is set for huge growth as utility providers roll out smart meters in households to meet the government’s 2020 deadline. In a multi-million pound deal over three years, O2 will provide M2M technology, including around 200,000 SIM cards, to connect smart meters across the UK to G4S’ data centre.

G4S will use O2’s SMS gateway to relay information securely from its smart meters to its data centre and back again. Outbound messaging will allow G4S to monitor the working order of its smart meters remotely, reducing the cost of maintenance and servicing as well as carbon emissions associated with travel. The deal will also see O2 providing G4S with the connectivity to run the annual testing of its disaster recovery process.

Additionally, O2 has delivered technology to enable G4S to transfer data securely, efficiently and privately between smart meters in the field and the G4S data centres.

“We believe there are real opportunities to use our network to accelerate the roll out of smart meters by helping utilities companies and other suppliers to deploy and manage the devices in a quicker and more cost effective way,” said Ben Dowd, O2’s business director. “We’re delighted to announce the substantial deal with G4S, and are confident this partnership will create further new revenue opportunities for both parties.”

The deal follows hot on the heels of an announcement by G4S that it has signed a three year contract with British Gas to deliver end-to-end smart gas and electricity metering services in Wales, the Midlands and the south of England.

“The provision of O2’s SMS gateway technology will greatly enhance the remote monitoring of our smart metering provision, providing a more efficient cost effective service to our customers,” said Kim Challis, managing director of G4S. “We are looking forward to rolling out this technology during our smart metering installation phase.”

Dowd added: “G4S is a major player in the smart metering market and this deal builds on our expertise of delivering streamlined communications on a global scale. We’re proud to be their provider of choice.”

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