Water utilities forecast to propel growth with global smart meter revenue to reach US$14bn by 2026

Adarsh Krishnan of ABI Research

Water and gas meter shipments will see double-digit revenue growth over the next five years. If this market forecast comes true it will be welcome news in a market where smart electricity shipments are contracting and greatly slowing growth of overall revenues across the entire metering segment.

According to ABI Research, energy and water utility meter installations will result in annual shipments of 151 million smart meters in 2018 and will grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 3.2% to reach 193 million units by 2026. The figures come from ABI Research, a market-foresight advisory firm providing strategic guidance on transformative technologies. Energy utilities drove market demand for smart meters in 2018, however, future demand will be driven by water utilities.

Regionally, the Asia Pacific followed by Europe and North America are currently the largest markets for smart meter shipments and will continue to be throughout the forecast period. There’s a significant price pressure for lower cost smart meters in the Asia Pacific and Europe regions that is slowing revenue growth over the forecast period.

In the APAC region, India is coming out of successful pilots and preparing for large-scale roll-outs of smart electricity meters to replace over 300 million metering points. In 2018, Request for Proposals (RFPs) from government-owned public utilities were initiated for 10 million smart meters to replace traditional meters and connect to 2G and 3G networks.

Water and gas meters have also been witnessing traction from utilities in city-wide rollouts. “As smart electricity meter roll-outs near completion in China, there is an increasing focus on utility smart gas and water meter roll-outs. LPWA network technologies will be popular choices for these metering segments with LoRaWAN technology from ZTE CLAA in China and Tata communications in India competing with telcos’ NB-IoT networks in the region,” said Adarsh Krishnan, principal analyst at ABI Research.

In Europe, there’s a steady ramp-up of smart meter shipments until 2019 with strong growth in electricity and gas metering shipments. The growing footprint of LPWA networks in Europe will drive the uptake of smart metering infrastructure among water utilities to become the second largest market after the Asia Pacific region.

Utilities are currently the leading adopters of IoT technology, deploying 618 million smart meters in 2018. Meter-to-cash is the primary application driver for smart meter implementation and monetisation opportunities for both energy and water utilities. “Operating in data-rich environments, energy utilities are starting to spend more on implementing analytics platforms using Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence (AI) to not only improve customer experience but also to improve energy efficiency, reliability and identify early potential infrastructure and service issues,” Krishnan concluded.

These findings are from ABI Research’s Utilities and Smart Grids report. This report is part of the company’s M2M (machine-tomachine), IoT & IoE (Internet of Things / Everything) research service, which includes research, data, and Executive Foresights.

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