Smart water meter market analyzed in new report

Dec. 14, 2011
Market researcher IMS Research estimates the advanced water metering market will continue to increase its product share, particularly in North America, through 2016...

Dec. 14, 2011 -- Market researcher IMS Research estimates the advanced water metering market will continue to increase its product share, particularly in North America. It its recently published report, The World Market for Water Meters -- 2011, IMS Research anticipates global advanced water meter shipments to grow from about 5.5 million in 2010 to roughly 10 million shipments annually in 2016.

According to the findings, global advanced water meter shipments accounted for over $500 million in revenue in 2010, with over 70% of this seen in the North American market. According to Nicole Juarez, the author of the report, "North America already has a high penetration of advanced metering. While one-way meters continue to have higher unit shipments than two-way meters currently, in North America, higher growth is forecast for two-way meters over the next five years. The price of two-way meters are gradually becoming comparable to traditional mobile read meters, and when reviewed against possible labor cost savings; utilities are increasingly realizing that purchasing two-way meters (even ahead of fixed network infrastructure) is currently justifiable. These meters will likely be used initially in a direct or mobile read solution, until sufficient installed base exists within a manageable metering family to upgrade to a fixed network."

The majority of advanced water meter growth is being driven by North America, with the highest estimated advanced water meter shipments in 2010, accounting for over 55% of this region's total annual water meter shipments. Specifically, two-way meters are forecast to have significant growth in North America, increasing from a small fraction of the market in 2010, to an anticipated third of the overall market in 2016. This is by far the highest percentage of two-way meters of any region currently, and forecast.

The report estimates water metering technology provider Itron to have the top unit share position globally for a number of segments, including Total World Water Meter Shipments, Total World Water Communications Modules and Total World Domestic Water Meters.

Itron provides water resource management solutions that enable utilities to manage supply, optimize usage and conserve resources. Offerings include meters, leak detection devices and communications modules, network infrastructure and back-office data collection and analytic software.

"Itron takes its leadership position seriously, particularly during such a critical time in the industry when water suppliers around the world are facing growing populations and infrastructure challenges," said Marcel Regnier, Itron president and COO, Water. "In developing countries, providing people with secure potable water is the primary concern; yet, in the most developed countries, making distribution systems more reliable, smarter and energy efficient are key drivers for technology investments, together with improved consumer service. At Itron, we offer tailored solutions to meet our customers' unique business needs, and I believe this is why we are a leading global provider today."

IMS Research notes that globally, advanced water meter shipments remain a small percentage of total water meter shipments because the largest water meter market, Asia, predominantly consists of basic water meters. Of global water meter unit shipments in 2010, 6% were advanced water meters, estimated to grow to over 8% by 2016.