Boulder, Colo., June 7, 2012 — Advanced metering infrastructure managed services are deployments of AMI systems in which a third party other than the utility operates the AMI system on a day-to-day basis.
AMS is a repeatable offering that can be deployed from one utility to the next with little customization, and many current AMS offerings are delivered via cloud computing infrastructures, an approach that helps utilities avoid many of the costs and complexities of traditional smart meter deployments.
According to a new report from Pike Research, the AMS market will continue to gain momentum over the next several years, and by 2020 the cleantech market intelligence firm forecasts that 91.2 million AMI endpoints will be covered by managed services contracts worldwide, up from 25.2 million endpoints in 2012.
“Managed smart metering may be the best kept secret in the smart grid market,” says senior analyst Bob Lockhart. “AMS already has noticeable activity around the world, with plans afoot for quite a bit more. It is a new market today, but not for much longer.”
Lockhart adds that there are many different motivators for a utility to consider an AMS offering, and these drivers vary depending upon the size of the utility. AMS has so far been most attractive to smaller utilities that do not have the size or staff to operate an AMI system in-house.
A further benefit is that AMS can be deployed without the substantial capital investment that smaller utilities are often unable to make. However, AMS has also attracted a few larger utilities that would rather outsource the complexity than deal with it in-house.
Pike Research’s analysis also finds that AMS adoption varies significantly by region and by country. Countries where energy distribution is a state-owned monopoly are unlikely to use AMS. By contrast, more liberalized markets may portend greater adoption of AMS, though there are exceptions to this generalization. The most active AMS regions of the world today are North America and Northern Europe.