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Smart Meters Drive IoT Applications in North America

The Internet of Things (IoT) has numerous applications within the energy and utility sector. As an example, smart meter penetration in North America is forecast to reach 81 percent by 2024.

A smart meter is a new kind of gas and electricity meter that can digitally send meter readings to the energy supplier for more accurate consumption readings. Smart meters can also provide in-home displays that enable the consumer to better monitor and manage their energy usage.

According to the latest worldwide market study by Berg Insight, the installed base of smart electricity meters in North America will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 8 percent between 2018 and 2024 to reach 142.8 million units at the end of the forecast period.

Smart Meter Market Development

Over the next five years, smart meter penetration among electricity customers in the U.S. and Canada is projected to increase from around 60 percent in 2018 to more than 80 percent by the end of 2024.

"North America has long been at the forefront of smart grid technology adoption and a large share of the major utilities in the region are now either fully deployed or in the implementation or planning stages of full-scale rollouts," said Levi Östling, IoT analyst at Berg Insight.

The market is however highly heterogeneous in terms of penetration. Some states or provinces remain skeptical towards the business case for advanced metering investments whereas others are soon to begin the second wave of deployments.

Canada has reached a high penetration of smart meters through ambitious initiatives in its most populous provinces. Continued growth in North America the next few years will largely be driven by the large investor-owned utilities in the U.S. market that are yet to roll out smart meters for their customers.

In addition, the large number of smaller cooperative and municipal utilities will also be playing an increasingly central role for penetration growth.

According to the Berg assessment, yearly shipments of smart electricity meters in North America will grow from 8.8 million units in 2018 to 19.9 million units in 2024.

Over the next few years, first-wave deployments of smart meters by utilities -- such as Consolidated Edison, Duke Energy, Ameren, Entergy, PSEG, National Grid and Xcel Energy -- will boost shipments.

Outlook for Smart Meter Deployment Growth

Second wave deployments of smart meters will gradually make their way into the shipment numbers at the end of the forecast period.

"While increasingly powerful meters with edge intelligence capabilities coupled with advanced data analytics software will drive second wave deployments, the utilities are now also looking to leverage their existing RF mesh networks for a wider array of applications beyond metering, bringing an increasingly diverse set of devices onto their networking platforms," concluded Mr. Östling.

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