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By enabling high-frequency readings of detailed meter data while also allowing for direct two-way communications with the utility back office, advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) and automated meter reading services are allowing water utilities to make substantial enhancements to operational efficiency and reduce non-revenue water (NRW). Analysis from Berg Insight is predicting the installed base of water utility AMI endpoints in Europe and North America is set to more than double during the period of 2022–2028.
The Smart water metering in Europe and North America study is the third strategy report from Berg Insight analysing the latest developments in the markets for AMI and AMR technologies in the water sector for these two regions. The study’s AMR data includes metering points that require readings through drive-by or walk-by operations, while AMI involves a fixed network communications infrastructure and supports true internet of things (IoT) connectivity.
At the end of 2022, the combined installed base of AMI endpoints in Europe and North America amounted to 55.8 million units. This number is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 13% to reach 116.4 million in 2028.
The study also predicts the total number of communicating utility water meters – including both AMI and AMR – will at the same time grow from 155.1 million units in 2022 to 206 million units in 2028.
In terms of AMI connectivity, LoRaWAN and 3GPP-based low-power wide-area (LPWA) technologies such as NB-IoT and LTE-M continued to be the fastest-growing technology types for new water AMI deployments in Europe and North America.
The report found that in Europe, Spain has emerged as the leading European adopter of 3GPP-based LPWA communications for water AMI, with several major utilities in the country now launching large-scale roll-outs based on NB-IoT.
The interest in 3GPP-based LPWA is also particularly strong in markets such as the UK, Italy and the Baltics, while demand for LoRaWAN has so far been more widespread across the entire European region. LTE-M currently constitutes the single fastest-growing technology for new water AMI deployments in North America, while LoRaWAN has just started showing some growth after several years in the market.
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Looking at which companies are defining the markets, Berg discovered that at the end of 2022, the companies that had accumulated the largest installed bases of water AMI endpoints in Europe included Diehl Metering, Itron, Birdz (Veolia), Sensus (Xylem) and Kamstrup. The top five in North America were Sensus, Badger Meter, Itron, Aclara (Hubbell) and Neptune Technology Group.
Top-10 suppliers in either of the two regions moreover included the Minol-ZENNER Group, Honeywell, the Arad Group, Mueller Systems, Landis+Gyr, Apator and Maddalena. SUEZ subsidiary SUEZ Smart Solutions was also regarded as constituting a key player in the European water AMI market, having been instrumental to the development and deployment of Wize technology.
“Since the Covid-19 pandemic, the growth of remote water meter reading technologies has been impeded by supply chain disruptions, resulting in the postponement of several projects,” said Berg Insight IoT analyst Mattias Carlsson. “With ongoing improvements in supply chains coupled with significant commitment from numerous utilities to implement smart metering technologies, the outlook for the overall smart water metering market looks promising.
“Proprietary and EN 13757-based RF communications technologies currently have a strong footprint in both the European and North American markets. These technologies are anticipated to remain pivotal connectivity options for water AMI projects in the foreseeable future. Nevertheless, emerging alternatives such as LoRaWAN and cellular communications are rapidly growing, and are poised to capture a larger share of AMI shipments in the years ahead.”