New research predicts significant growth in AMI cellular technology in coming years
The City of Santa Fe, N.M., recently selected Badger Meter's BEACON smart water meter solution to be installed across all water meter endpoints -- the single largest implementation of cellular machine-to-machine technology in the water utility sector worldwide.
AUSTIN, TEXAS, April 2, 2015 – According to new research from IHS Inc. (NYSE: IHS), a global source of critical information and insight, significant growth of cellular technology for water advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) applications is expected to occur over the coming years. Moreover, the findings indicate that approximately 600,000 cellular-enabled smart water meters will be shipped to the North American market annually by 2020.
IHS anticipates a strong market for cellular-enabled smart meters for a number of reasons. First, cellular smart water meters are essentially plug-and-play devices that require no additional network infrastructure, and the IT network communications elements can also be used for power plants and other utilities. In addition, smart meters have shorter lifetime expectancies than traditional meters, leading to faster replacement cycles. Finally, advances in battery management technology are making the investment in cellular smart water meters easier to justify.
Water utilities in North America are being challenged to improve their customer service and curb non-revenue water losses, all within an environment of economic uncertainty and flat or declining budgets. "The advantages of installing smart water meters continues to become more and more clear to utilities in North America," said Michael Markides, director of the Smart Utility Infrastructure Group at IHS. "Even if the expectations for the meter lifetime change, there are simply too many benefits to ignore."
For example, the City of Santa Fe, N.M., recently selected BEACON, a new smart water meter solution from Badger Meter, a global manufacturer of flow measurement and control solutions, to be installed across all its water meter endpoints, including both residential and commercial customers. The foundation for the project is a cellular-enabled smart meter, which can be installed and immediately used for the utility's smart water network applications.
The contract calls for approximately 35,000 smart meters to be installed, making it the single largest implementation of cellular machine-to-machine (M2M) technology in the water utility sector worldwide, according to HIS. Likewise, Santa Fe has a unique set of needs -- from water scarcity to a challenging geography -- which makes installing cellular smart water meters attractive.
"Santa Fe has some of the highest water rates in the country," said Santa Fe's Public Utility Director Nick Schiavo, "In addition, our city has a challenging terrain, which often makes communication difficult, so using the existing cellular infrastructure for our meters was very attractive. With the rising cost of water, our customers need an improved view of their consumption, and the smart meter data allows us to immediately notify our customers about possible leaks."
Smart water meters already make up the majority of total water meter shipments in North America, but they comprise less than half of the installed base. There is a large available market for smart water meters, and many technologies will be used to facilitate communications; however, meters relying on cellular are expected grow more rapidly than other technologies, at least for the foreseeable future.
"Vendors in the smart meter and cellular supply chain, as well as telecom providers, need to understand there are some 50 to 60,000 water utilities in North America," Markides said. "Almost all of them are municipally run and operate in much the same manner, while facing many of the same problems, so the opportunity to scale this technology is strong."
About Badger Meter
Badger Meter is an innovator in flow measurement and control products, serving water utilities, municipalities and commercial and industrial customers worldwide. The company's products measure water, oil, chemicals, and other fluids, and are known for accuracy, long-lasting durability and for providing valuable and timely measurement data. For more information, visit www.badgermeter.com.