Smart Meters & LPWA Connectivity
IoT is not limited to smart home devices like smart switches, plugs and lights, IoT technology is essential for successfully deploying and adopting smart energy meters. IoT devices and networks transmit data over long distances with minimal power consumption at low cost. Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) helps utilities automate device connection, customer billing and consumption monitoring. The combination of smart metering, communication networks and data management systems such as eSIMs enables two-way communication between service providers and customers.
Smart Metering & Smart Grid
Smart gas and electricity metering uses a variety of centralized reading and consumption monitoring applications to monitor customers' energy consumption locally. Smart meters are often unaffordable and typically have a lifespan of up to 20 years. Once connected to the Internet, they offer a range of remote monitoring and alerting capabilities. They also enable robust data analysis to help companies and users optimize energy consumption.
Data from smart meters is fed into the smart grid, allowing energy utilities to aggregate and manage this data, as well as monitor grid health remotely and at scale. Smart grid technology uses smart meters and analytical tools to automate, monitor and manage the availability of public services in cities. The smart grid enables utilities to deliver sustainability, efficiency and security of supply, allowing them to track and achieve their climate change and carbon footprint goals.
LPWA connectivity for deployment
Utilities have identified smart metering as an Internet of Things (IoT) application that helps solve the cost, time, and efficiency challenges posed by local meter reading and monitoring. The transition from traditional to smart meters is one of the most significant IoT initiatives worldwide. By 2030, Transforma Insights Connected Things' TAM predicts that 2.2 billion smart meters will be deployed in the IoT Electricity Smart Meter market.
The acceleration in the adoption of smart meters is mainly due to government initiatives for energy companies to achieve sustainability goals by monitoring consumption. Recent efforts to evolve cellular radio to meet IoT-specific use cases have seen the advent of Low Power Wide Area (LPWA) network technologies such as NB-IoT and LTE-M.
Global IoT Market Forecast
These radio technologies attracted utility companies by allowing devices to establish a cellular connection once or twice a day to report data. They can run on batteries on a single charge for easy installation. Long battery life is valuable for gas meters because they usually don't have easy access to electricity.
Game changing stats
Smart meter data and analytics help utilities predict when demand will be high in order to manage supply. They also enable sharing of usage patterns showing billing impact with more efficient billing to customers. This in turn encourages consumers to plan their payments and use electricity and gas more responsibly. Utilities are seeing cash-to-meter efficiencies and changing customer insights from smart metering usage data. Benefits include faster demand response, better distributed resource management, operational efficiency and better customer relationships.
Future-proofing with eSIM
Utility infrastructure is a tempting target for manipulation, with smart meters providing an entry point for cyber attacks. The transmission of sensitive smart meter usage data could be blocked or diverted into the wrong hands. One solution to prevent malicious hacker attacks while managing remote deployments at scale is to leverage eSIM security capabilities. An embedded SIM (eSIM) is a hardware component soldered to a circuit board inside the device. eSIM is a tamper-resistant chip that offers standardized security and mobile telecommunications features. This dedicated hardware is physically and logically isolated and offers controlled protection from other processes and device resources.
Non-swappable SIM cards, while physically infinitely more secure, would prevent you from having to swap your device to subscribe to a new provider. However, thanks to GSMA's Remote SIM Provisioning (RSP) architecture and a capable, compatible SIM Operating System (OS), the SIM hardware can remain securely in place, while credentials and carrier settings, the SIM profile, can be securely added or removed remotely. .
Mobile connectivity provides a connection from the device to the operator's Internet gateway, but not through the open Internet to the infrastructure for service aggregation and management. Additionally, it will not be able to ensure that the meter is genuine and authorized by the utility. Utilities can agree to use a direct virtual private network (VPN) to the operator's gateway; however, this may be a limitation, so they may further focus on data encryption to protect data from the device to the utility. In addition, utilities also seek to verify that only genuine meters gain authorized access to their infrastructure.
IoT SAFE is one option that offers a device-side SIM root of trust. This provides public service cryptography that can be used to prove the authenticity of the meter to the public network. It can also be used to encrypt all data sent from the device. Encrypted data can then be decrypted by the utility only after receipt at its secure aggregation point. Conversely, the device can use root trust credentials to verify that the data received is genuine and trusted. With secure, reliable connectivity and a guaranteed digital communication path between devices, smart meters and the smart grid can also benefit from new features and security software updates. This capability ensures that they remain properly protected for a long life and minimizes costly meter maintenance or hardware replacement.