AMI market accelerates in North America

Mountain View, Calif., May 1, 2012 — The increasing demand for energy in North America has compelled utilities to upgrade the electric and distribution network in the region, giving a boost to the advanced meter infrastructure (AMI) market.

New analysis from Frost & Sullivan's "Analysis of the North American Advanced Meter Infrastructure Market" research finds that the market earned revenues of more than $2.74 billion in 2011 and estimates this to reach $4.56 billion in 2016 at a compound annual growth rate of 10.7 percent.

"Utilities are drawn to the prospect of monitoring power consumption and enabling customers to curtail consumption with AMI as part of their long-term energy conservation and efficiency strategies," said Frost & Sullivan Principal Consultant Farah Saeed. "Currently, there are more than 20 states in the U.S. that have more than a 50 percent penetration rate of smart meters. Key states include California, Texas, Oregon, Nevada, Arizona and Florida."

Growth in smart meter deployment is expected to accelerate demand for data analytics. Frost & Sullivan estimates that sales for meter data management combined with customer and program data management is expected to account for 32.6 percent of total sales by 2016 versus 30 percent in 2011.

Utilities find great advantages in smart meters, including system consolidation, remote connect-disconnect, meter theft monitoring, and cost savings due to smaller workforce requirements for meter reading and customer services.

AMI deployment also allows utilities to lower operating costs while increasing revenues through enhancement of distribution systems for superior control and management of peak load usage. However, the current economic uncertainty has placed restrictions on utilities' budgets and caused them to defer their investments in AMI. This volatile economic climate, along with the lack of success stories, has restricted the market from making optimum use of AMI's potential.

"In a complicated economic environment, vendors strive to retain their market share by combining diverse economic factors such as lower cost, superior performance, on-time shipment schedules, product support excellence, enriched technology, consistency, reliable contractor relationships, and excellence in customer relationships," said Saeed. "It is critical for the more established market participants to specialize and invest in these growing segments to maintain their market positions."

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