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UK's energy smart meter plans call for expert M2M capabilities

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Last Week's announcement by the UK Government that by 2020 every UK household will have a smart meter installed to help save energy has been welcomed with open arms by consumers who will be able to monitor and control energy expenditure remotely.

The new measures will undoubtedly save consumers across Britain billions of pounds, but will the companies involved have the expertise and infrastructure to see that this initiative is implemented successfully?

Set to roll out over the next five years, this initiative will revolutionise energy metering. However, with the deadline looming, Malcolm Norman, SVP, EMEA of Wyless, the Global Network Enabler (GNE), is concerned that energy providers may not be able to undertake this task as easily as expected.

"Installing smart meters across the UK requires the providers to have a strong machine-to-machine (M2M) communications network. They will need to guarantee a robust and reliable connection with nation-wide coverage, this will mean using multiple mobile operators in across the UK. They will also need to ensure that they employ the necessary expertise to keep connections secure, such as deploying a Fixed IP address per device," said Malcolm.

"The energy providers will also require SIM cards to be configured in every device in every home or business, which can connect to the central server and transmit the data. Supplying, configuring, and deploying these SIMs is a time consuming and cost-intensive process."

"In these tough times, cost is an important factor, as high costs for the provider can result in higher costs for the consumer. The total cost of ownership (TCO) of designing, implementing and maintaining a wireless M2M network can be huge. From the costs of SIM production and network infrastructure maintenance, to wireless roaming rates and staffing costs for engineers, the expenses can become as difficult to manage as the network itself," he added.

"This process need not be so difficult for the energy companies. Partnering with a network provider would mean outsourcing these elements to a company that specialises in M2M connectivity. Benefits include a reduced TCO, 24/7 technical support, online network management, a single connection covering all mobile operators and pre-enabled devices that reduce the complexity of deployment and increase time-to-market."

"With expert M2M capabilities, energy companies will be well on their way to meeting the government's deadline, and we will be one step closer to a greener Britain," concluded Malcolm.

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Tags: m2m  machine to machine  smart meters  machine-to-machine  connect  UK