Estafet Opinion on Smart Meters
There has been much conjecture over the previous months around the cost and targets of ambitious smart metering plans. As many of you know, Estafet have been involved in smart metering solutions for many years, including the AlertMe project controlling heating controls from your mobile (recently acquired by British Gas in a deal worth £65 million in February 2015), and we have just begun a long term project delivering smart metering communications. So what is the reality? are the Government targets too ambitious? are they destined to fail?
The reality is there is always a sense of trepidation when embarking on a mammoth project, and getting 53 million homes enabled with smart metering communications by 2020 is not an easy task. However what is the alternative – staying in the dark ages, with analog meters? with the advances in technology our expectations are changing, and in my opinion for the better. Why can’t we control our gas and electricity use from our mobile, control our usage and ultimately control the costs?
Interestingly, it doesn’t just benefit the customer, integrated systems enable higher levels of customer satisfaction, and metering technology enables companies to track faults on supply. For example where smart water devices are being fitted, leaks are being detected much earlier, saving a limited resource.
As consumers, we are pressurising the utility companies to be more efficient, yet when they embark on a project to provide efficiency measures, there is considerable mud slinging.
The reality check, is that the smart metering programme is large, however like many other IT projects, if approached in a realistic way, it is achievable. We work in an agile way, and it is this sprint methodology, and ability to change as the environment changes around us, that has brought us success in projects such as Alert Me.
2015 is an important year, the revenue expected from connected home device sales is expected to be over $61 bn, cementing the Internet of Things in our everyday lives. The utility companies are hedging their bets, buying companies and solutions such as Alertme, and we are likely to see more consolidation in the connected homes arena in the near future.
Additionally, with the potential change in Government in the next month, we need to be flexible, the targets may change, but if we don’t adopt the smart metering technology now, we are going to be seriously behind our European and American counterparts.