According to data released this week from the M2M/IoT analyst firm Berg Insight, the installed base of smart gas meters in Europe will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 37.8 percent between 2016 and 2022 to reach 62.0 million units at the end of the period.
Deployments of smart gas meters on the European market accelerated in 2017 as the number of installed devices reached 17.3 million. The growth is mainly driven by nationwide rollouts in France, Italy, the Netherlands and the UK.
Italy is the largest market with annual demand projected to peak at more than 5 million units towards the end of the decade. France entered the mass-rollout phase in 2017 and the UK market is expected to take off in 2018. In the Netherlands, the full-scale rollout is already underway and will continue until the early 2020s.
The European smart gas meters use a variety of communication methods, including fixed RF networks and local interfaces to master electricity meters. Short-range radio communication using the 169 MHz frequency band is the de-facto industry networking standard in France and Italy where smart gas meters are deployed independently of smart electricity meters.
In the UK and the Netherlands, local wired or wireless interfaces are used for transmitting readings through the customer’s smart electricity meter. Several vendors have performed successful trials of using NB-IoT networks for connecting smart gas meters in the past year.
“Berg Insight expects that smart gas metering will become one of the first high-volume applications for NB-IoT”, said Tobias Ryberg, Senior Analyst, Berg Insight. “The combination of low data volumes and the need for 10+ year battery operation is an ideal match”.
Berg Insight also announced that annual shipments of smart electricity meters in Europe will grow by 71 percent in 2017 to reach 23.1 million units. Growth is driven by accelerating deployments in France, Italy and the UK that coincide with the final phase of the nationwide rollout in Spain. The great majority of the devices deployed in 2017 use powerline communication (PLC). Already in 2018, shipments of PLC smart meters are however expected to start to decline, even as the market remains strong. Instead radio-based technologies like 4G cellular (LTE-M/NB-IoT) and RF mesh will increase their market shares.