Smart metering deployment represents a common first step into smart grid solutions at scale for many utilities. The 10 largest national deployments worldwide are expected to add 500 million new smart meters by 2020, approximately tripling the 2012 global installed base, and the locus of growth shifting from North America to Europe, then Latin America and Asia.
Despite the ongoing rollouts, many utilities are still unclear about the optimal route to extracting value from these large investments. Whether utilities are at the stage of planning, preparation or actual deployment, the blanket term “smart” masks a more complex reality. Smart metering means different things to different utilities, given the variety of prevailing industry structures, legal frameworks, regulatory mandates, availability of technology, network infrastructure stability and the operational environments. There is a wide array of possible approaches to deploying smart technologies and benefit areas on which to focus most aggressively.