Smart Meters Drive Data Deluge

11/2/2011


As smart meters become more common, the need also increases for software and solutions to manage all the data being logged. After all, smart meters are all about data, whether it’s being used by the utility or by consumers to keep track of their energy use.

In the smart meter world, MDM (meter data management) systems are used to organize and make sense of the data. An MDM is a software system that imports the data from the meter, validates it, and then makes it available for use in a wide variety of applications.

Research suggests MDM systems will soon be the norm. Pike Research, www.pikeresearch.com, says by 2018, 98% of all smart meters in North America will be covered by an MDM system. Regions such as Western Europe and advanced economies in East Asia could see this number reach 80%. Pike Research also says the overall revenue for MDM systems worldwide—including both software and services—is expected to reach $490 million by 2018. This would represent an almost ten-fold increase from 2011.


“MDM systems will create a system of record that enables many departments of a utility to function more efficiently than ever before,” says Bob Lockhart, senior analyst for Pike Research. “Utilities expect MDM to enable more efficient grid operations, and vendors with experience in operations or customer care are increasingly entering the market.”

There is a large market for these MDM systems, which are now a major piece of the overall smart grid infrastructure.

The question of what to do with all the data being collected from smart meters is certainly pertinent, as the data is only as good as how it is used. Ideally, businesses and consumers could use the data to find ways to cut down on their consumption and bills.

That is the hope of utility customers in the U.K., where smart meters rollouts have been ongoing and the government has said all households should have a smart meter by 2020. Recently, reports indicate the government is looking into the rollouts and the smart meter programs to make sure they are benefiting consumers.

It seems smart meters are here to stay, and it’s up to utilities to make sure the data is being organized effectively. MDM systems will play a crucial role is this respect. 





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