The need for grid modernization and positive steps taken by utilities across the world to replace conventional electronic meters with improved smart meters capable of providing improved meter reading and data collection are the most important factors facilitating growth in the global advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) market. Furthermore, launch of dynamic pricing schemes and demand response programs are considered as motivational factors for the use of smart meters. Demand response programs are considered as enablers of growth in the global AMI market. AMI is the integration of hardware, software, and technologies that provide an intelligent connection between consumers. Consumers by participating in demand response programs will benefit from lower electricity bills, while electric distribution utilities will be able to avoid investments in expensive new capacity buildings and benefits from a stable load on a utility grid. Through bi-directional communication between the meter and meter data management, the electrical distribution utilities will be able to remotely manage metering assets and collect information on energy usage in a real-time.
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Use of AMI offers several benefits to the utilities and end consumers, which includes customer service, system operations, and financial benefits. Early detection of meter failures, improved billing accuracy, time-based tariff options to consumers, faster service restoration, and consumer participation in demand response programs are some of the customer service benefits of the AMI. Increased meter reading accuracy, reduction in number of meter reads, easier outage management, and easier energy theft detection are some of the system operation benefits. Financial benefits include shorter outages and faster restoration, reduced support expenses and reduced equipment and equipment maintenance cost. An AMI typically includes smart meters, communication networks, communicating thermosets and other sensors, and meter data management systems (MDMS), and platforms for integrating of data into existing and new software.
The overall market for AMI can be segmented into devices and geographies. On the basis of AMI devices, the market can be segmented into smart meters, communication infrastructure, home area networks (HANS), MDMS, and support systems (in-home display units). An increased emphasis on improving energy efficiency and reducing energy peak demands by encouraging participation in demand response programs are the key drivers of growth in the global AMI market. Installation of smart meters as part of advanced metering infrastructure will enable electric distribution utilities to reduce their operational cost as well as improved identification of energy theft, and outage notification. AMI systems help in meter reading accuracy and reducing theft of utilities resulting in an overall financial benefit to the consumer as well as a service provider. Lack of inter-operability standards in most of the countries of the world may hamper growth in the AMI market. The total capital cost of AMI includes costs of hardware, software, MDMS, IT integration, and installation. The declining cost of AMI hardware is likely to impact positively to the growth in the global AMI market.
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Governments across the globe are encouraging utilities to deploy smart meters at end consumer infrastructure. Moreover, favorable regulatory conditions in North American countries and some part of Asia Pacific are likely to aid rollouts of smart meters in the near future. Presently, North America and Europe dominate the global AMI market. The demand in these regions is majorly driven by governmental support in the form of research and developmental activities of smart grid technology. Asia Pacific is expected to drive the growth of AMI market in the near future on account of the growing population and acceptance of these modern systems by utility companies. Additionally, growing awareness of consumers regarding wastage and consequently carbon footprints is expected to propel growth in the AMI market.
Some of the key players in the global AMI market include: Sensus, Schneider Electric SA, Silver Spring Network, General Electric, Landis+Gyr, Itron, Eaton Corporation and Echelon Corporation.