The ultimate purposes of m2m and the IoT are usually two-fold: on one hand to streamline and automate existing processes and on the other to increase revenues and efficiency in processes eliminating manual work and create new streams of untapped revenue.
This winwin situation for end users and solution providers is more noticeable in certain business areas such as utilities, where a higher degree of information creates responsible behavioral patterns in users and allows for energy suppliers to correctly size power generation to meet demand and avoid interruptions in the service.
In Latin America massive deployment of smart meters is considered a necessary stepping stone to evolve towards the development of a smart grid that according to Pike Research is expected to grow 10 times over the course of 7-8 years.
If the 2010-2015 period has seen growth rates of 50% in areas such as Europe, North America and Asia Pacific that are gradually decreasing in deployment speed, the next five year period will see Latin America, India, and the Middle East lead the way in Smart Meter adoption growth rates.
Energy companies and Communication Service Providers are partnering to develop smart meter deployment projects. This post will focus on these projects in Latin America. Brazil is undoubtedly spearheading this process. The total investment in this front is expected to reach $432 million by 2020 according to the Worldwatch Institute. Brazil, through its Inova Energia plan has set aside $1.4 billion to fund innovation in the electricity industry and bring energy reliability and grid technology up to speed.
Overall Latin America expects this deployment to produce CAGR rates of 37% over the next five years. Behind Brazil, Colombia and Chile lead smart meter adoption rates figures and other countries in the area are also pursuing smart grid development with energetic policies to aid investment and adoption. Smart electricity meters help households monitor and reduce their power usage, which leads to active involvement in demand response programs, says Faisal Ghaus, Vice President of Technavio. The British research firm believes Smart Meter adoption will help control the demand-supply gap.
Communications play a leading role in this process
France and specially the UK provide two excellent examples of the key role that CSPs play in successfully deploying Smart Meters and ensuring communications through m2m and other related technologies that communicate the endpoints of houses and businesses with Control Centres that collect the information and provide the Big Data that Smart Grids need to measure aggregated demand and improve overall grid reliability and smart energy generation.
The reasons to advocate in favour of Smart Grids are to generate power efficiently and timely preventing outages and anticipating peak consumption periods based on collected data. An additional reason is to avoid energy theft, one of the causes behind electricity related fires and price increases to legitimate users.
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