Smart Meters

Major smart meter manufacturers have a history in the traditional metering market and were earlier movers into the smart meter market. All either produce more than meter products and/or have formed collaborations with other smart grid companies to have connections at all parts of the smart grid chain. In addition the meters they offer are more than just electric smart meters. Each company appears to adopt a different strategy for supplying the smart meter market.

For example, Itron is collaborating with Lockheed Martin to produce more secure smart meters, and wireless network companies such as Arcadian Networks, where as the other appear to be developing their own security solutions. Recent contracts awarded to Itron and Elster have been mainly for water and gas meters, where as Landis+Gyr has continued to focus on the electric market. While all companies supply products to the US and Canada, outside the US the companies have dominate in different markets. To emphasise the potential of the market in October 2010 Elster successfully completed its first initial public offering (IPO).

A ‘one smart meter and AMI fits all’ rule will not apply in the smart grid of the future. Drivers differ from country to county for a start, along with local conditions. For example, in South Africa prepaid meters may be more popular than in the US as consumers are used to a prepaid electricity system. It is also unlikely that a consumer in South Africa would pay US $200 for a smart meter, but a consumer in the US might be more willing. Within a country different types of consumers exist. For example, some consumers are more concerned with convenience than reducing their electricity bills, where as others would want to reduce their electricity bills. Therefore, companies that produce a range of easy-to-use products targeted towards the market are more likely to be successful.