European Utility Week is one of the largest conferences for smart meters and smart grids in Europe. This year this was hosted in beautiful Vienna.
With 9000 conference delegates and visitors this conference this is a significant venue for everyone working with Automated Meter Reading (AMR) projects.
In this blog we will highlight some of the trends and news we picked up during the week.
Enel is one of the leading DSOs in Europe with many years experience with smart meters and AMR. By the end of 2015 they estimate to have 31,7 million smart meters connected in Italy and 6,5 million smart meters in Spain.
The meters installed in the early days are now soon due to be replaced by new smart meters. The original meters were designed for 15 years.
The Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) was previously mainly based on PLC technology. The meters that will replace the old ones will now also use radio and RF mesh. This is in line with the trends we see all over Europe. PLC is complex, expensive and vulnerable to noise. Radio is simple, cheap and stable.
Siemens and RWE
The large German industry giants such as Siemens and RWE report that they put a lot of effort into R&D and that they focus on agility and flexibility in order to meet the future and new business models for the DSOs.
They highlighted the effect of emergent players from telecoms, electronics and new technologies such as intelligent devices and IoT will be a game changer for the utility industry.
We especially liked the following quote from Inken Braunschmidt at RWE when talking about disruptive innovation:
“It is better to be the next Uber in the utility sector, than being Uber’ed out of the game”.
Startup prize winner of the year: piclo
The established companies get a lot of attention when they flex their muscles. But luckily they are not the only ones to get attention. Startups were also brought out in the limelight.
The winner of the “Startup of the year” was piclo. A UK based company with a simple solution where consumers and prosumers can buy and sell energy.
Piclo is an online marketplace for energy - giving renewable generators and commercial consumers more control and transparency than ever before. Piclo launched their service on October 1st, 2015.
Another award winner to be mentioned as highly interesting is Wirepass. They won the prize in the IoT category. The Wirepas PINO technology is a robust system for RF mesh networks.
The technology is being applied to several smart meter systems, such as Aidon’s smart meters. The technology supports automatic route discovery, construction, maintenance, and recovery.
See this blog article to learn more about planning of RF mesh networks.
To be future proof the technology also allows wireless firmware updates and configuration.
Innovation and Prosumers
After a week at this massive conference our impression is that the market is not “fat and happy” but highly innovative and is getting ready for new challenges and new business models.
The EU directives and recommendations has revitalized the sector and brought new ideas, opportunities and actors into the market.
And finally, you really need to learn the buzzword "prosumer".