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Scalable smart meter data management deemed necessary for water conservation

Smart water meters produce an enormous amount of data so meter data management (MDM) systems are essential when it comes to converting the data into insights that will prove useful and be actionable.

A new report by ABI Research, titled ‘The Intelligent Water Distribution Networks Application’ offers some analysis and insight into MDM systems. The report highlighted that the pressures posed by climate change and concerns over water conservation are currently on the rise.

Smart water meters are expected to reach 400 million by the year 2026 and ensuring scalable data management is key in order to combat the perils of climate change.

“In the energy sector, MDM platforms play a crucial role in the efficient use of smart electricity meters. Similarly, in the water utility market, MDM platforms are needed to extract the most useful water meter data to ensure identifying and classifying not only revenue-gathering water usage, but also water loss considered “non-revenue” water”, said Harriet Sumnall, a research analyst at ABI Research.

According to the report, MDM systems for the energy utility market are in fact, not suitable for water utilities. The automated metering infrastructure (AMI) systems for both are completely different and they each have their unique needs and functionalities when it comes to MDM platforms. Some of these factors may include flexibility to scale data gradually or integration into specific water utility systems which could, for instance, examine the water pressure, quality and billing.

MDM platforms must work effortlessly alongside AMI systems installed for water utilities in order to ensure accurate billing based on the consumer’s usage and to also identify the wastage to make their systems more efficient.

The smart water meter market is growing and is forecasted to grow even further. Last year, 42 percent of smart water meters were installed in the Asia-Pacific region. Water utilities in India, China, South Korea and Japan are expected to surge in deployments by 2020.

Following this, Europe is expected to emerge as one of the fastest growing markets and its expected CAGR is 30 percent over the next eight years through its plans to expand their regional low power wide area network (LPWA) coverage.

On a global scale, water utilities are expected to plan multiple large-scale commercial deployments of AMI systems whereby smart meters will be installed by vendors such as Honeywell, Holley Technology and Sensus.

“The traditional energy MDM platform vendors such as Siemens and Oracle need to ensure they offer what the water utilities require for water data management, rather than just modifying the solution they already provide to the energy utilities,” said Sumnall.

She added, “The MDM platform from Birdz, for example, addresses the unique requirements of water utilities by offering several predefined functions and alerts to quickly improve key performance indicators of a water utility’s distribution network.”