Smart meters present ZigBee opportunity to suppliers

ZigBee wireless technology could be the winner as the introduction of utility smart meters takes-off in the next five years. 

Sales worldwide of smart meters could top $12bn by 2016, according to a market forecast from In-Stat.

This will represent a big opportunity for suppliers of ZigBee wireless technology in particular as In-Stat predicts that the vast majority of meters will be ZigBee-enabled.

ZigBee has long been seen as the most suitable short range wireless option for smart meters.

“While the number of ZigBee clients in homes to date is relatively small, we believe that ZigBee will maintain its dominance,” said Allen Nogee, research director at In-Stat.

“Although Wi-Fi is pervasive, it has not been a viable choice for the smart grid because the application layers have never existed for Wi-Fi that explain exactly how Wi-Fi devices interact,” said Nogee.

“That will all change with the passage of the IP-based Smart Energy Profile 2.0, expected late in 2012,” added Nogee.

The market research found that China is the biggest smart meter consumer.
The number of smart meters deployed in the US per year will decrease after peaking in 2011, but worldwide smart meter deployment will continue to grow.

It also seems that powerline comms technology will be widely deployed in some markets for backhaul connections from the meter to the utility. 

“However, we are seeing an increasing number of wireless solutions including cellular, white space, and proprietary methods that would use unlicensed and operate in mesh configuration,” said Nogee.        

Recent In-Stat research Getting Smart on Worldwide Smart Meter Communication Technology.


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