Heavy Reading
Length: 20 Pages
Price: $2,495
Simon Sherrington
Contributing Analyst,
Heavy Reading
Simon is an independent consultant who contributes regularly to Heavy Reading projects...MORE
Danny Dicks
Contributing Analyst,
Heavy Reading
Danny is an analyst and consultant with more than 20 years' experience in technology markets who contributes regularly to Heavy Reading...MORE
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Length: 20 Pages
Price: $2,495
Utility Applications for LPWA: Smart Metering & More

Even before the standardization in 2016 of two 3GPP public cellular technologies designed for low power, wide area (LPWA) applications in machine-to-machine (M2M) and Internet of Things (IoT) communications, wireless network operators and their supplier ecosystem worked with electricity, gas and water companies to deliver connectivity services using short message service (SMS) messaging and General Packet Radio Service (GPRS)- and Long Term Evolution (LTE)-based data services.

But the relationship between wireless telecom and utilities hasn't been as strong as telecom players might hope. Utilities are generally conservative and build infrastructure for very long life; they value security and robustness, and the idea of public networks doesn't necessarily fit well with these guiding infrastructure principles. However, utilities have embarked along with companies in every other industry sector on a digitization journey that is seeing big changes to the ways utilities manage their business, and LPWA is in a good position to be a part of that transformation.

Developers of LPWA networks are eyeing up the utility markets, as in theory there should be an excellent fit between the characteristics of the technologies and the requirements of many utility applications both existing network monitoring and asset management applications, as well as newer smart metering, demand management, smart grid and automation-based applications.

LPWA usage by utilities is still at a relatively early stage, and many of the most promising applications (especially smart metering) have been developing for several years using a wide range of alternative communications approaches designed to do specific jobs very well that have, to some extent, bedded-in.

The utility sector remains a promising one for LPWA, not least because utilities themselves are seeing the benefits of becoming more digital throughout their operations, and because of the increasing coverage of networks and availability of key enabling components, such as communications modules from a broadening ecosystem. As utilities move from proprietary communications protocols and data formats to IP and industry standard data structures so they can better make use of new sources of data, there is an opportunity for new deployments of communications equipment and networks.

Utility Applications for LPWA: Smart Metering & More examines the applications for LPWA in the utility sector and compares the leading LPWA technologies that have gained traction in the utility space (and the major competing communications approaches). Further, it looks at the supply side of the market and identifies leading vendors of communications infrastructure, components, devices and platforms relevant to utility markets. Finally, this report gives examples of how the electricity, gas and water industries use LPWA networks.



The following excerpt shows Heavy Reading's assessment of the suitability of the main LPWA technologies for the three broad categories of utility applications described in the report, based on design performance, cost over the long term (taking into account at a high level the likely trajectory of module, infrastructure and service costs) and potential for the supply ecosystem to support the technology.
Utility Applications for LPWA: Smart Metering & More is published in PDF format.