BOULDER, CO, Jan. 5, 2012 -- Pike Research says the smart water meter market is poised for steady growth in the coming 5 years, driven by increasing demand for water itself, aging system infrastructure, and a need among utilities to operate their systems much more efficiently. Some systems were built 50 to 100 years ago and badly need upgrading. As new pipes are constructed, utility operators will simultaneously evaluate the merits of upgrading to the latest meter technology, as well. According to Pike Research's new report, the global installed base of advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) smart meters with two-way communication capabilities will reach 29.9 million by 2017, up from 10.3 million in 2011.
The cleantech market intelligence firm finds that additional forces that will propel smart water shipments will include the need to conserve scarce water supplies, especially in desert regions like the Middle East or Southwestern United States, the need to reduce high levels of non-revenue water, and the need to satisfy regulatory requirements. Growth will also come from emerging markets in Asia Pacific and elsewhere as water metering rises along with rising standards of living and the need to manage this valuable resource efficiently.
"Smart water meters are a wise choice for improving how water systems are managed and billed," says senior analyst Neil Strother. "However, there are significant financial and technical hurdles that will be impediments to progress and growth during the next several years."
Pike Research's analysis finds that new smart meters cost more than standard water meters, presenting a budgetary challenge to many water utilities. Smart meters also require additional IT expertise to facilitate data collection and data management, which is not always a welcome change to risk-averse system operators. And many water utilities are concerned about potential pushback from consumers, given the levels of resistance that some electric utilities have faced from customers in their smart meter rollouts.
All of these market barriers have contributed to Pike Research's decision to downgrade its forecast for the installed base of smart water meters, compared to the previous edition of its report, which was published in mid-2010. In the last edition, the firm had forecast that the installed base would reach 31.8 million units by 2016, whereas the new forecast anticipates that the installed base will reach 25.2 million by the same year.
Pike Research's report, "Smart Water Meters," provides a comprehensive analysis of the market opportunity for advanced metering infrastructure (AMI), automatic meter reading (AMR), and communication modules for smart water meters. The study includes an assessment of technology issues and market drivers, case studies, and company profiles including SWOT analysis of key industry players. Detailed forecasts for unit shipments and revenue, segmented by technology and world region, are provided through 2017. An Executive Summary of the report is available for free download at www.pikeresearch.com.