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Use Cases Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI)

Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI)

What is AMI?

Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) is an integrated network of sensors, smart meters and software that empower end users to monitor and control utilities such as water, gas and electricity.

AMI systems enable the measurement and visualization of time-specific data in real-time which, combined with remote control capabilities, can help companies and households reduce overhead costs.

The application of AMI must be complemented by the utilization of advanced security systems to ensure that data and control capabilities cannot be tampered with.

AMI is also commonly known as Advanced Metering Reading (AMR)

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NB-IoT connected smart meters to improve gas metering in Shenzhen
NB-IoT connected smart meters to improve gas metering in Shenzhen
Shenzhen Gas has a large fleet of existing gas meters, which are installed in a variety of hard to reach locations, such as indoors and underground, meaning that existing communications networks have struggled to maintain connectivity with all meters. The meter success rate is low, data transmissions are so far unstable and power consumption is too high. Against this background, Shenzhen Gas, China Telecom, Huawei, and Goldcard have jointly trialed NB-IoT gas meters to try and solve some of the challenges that the industry faces with today’s smart gas meters.
GPRS Mobile Network for Smart Metering
GPRS Mobile Network for Smart Metering
Around the world, the electricity supply industry is turning to ‘smart’ meters to lower costs, reduce emissions and improve the management of customer supplies. Smart meters collect detailed consumption information and using this feedback consumers can better understand their energy usage which in turn enables them to modify their consumption to save money and help to cut carbon emissions. A smart meter can be defined in many ways, but generally includes an element of two-way communication between the household meter and the utility provider to efficiently collect detailed energy usage data. Some implementations include consumer feedback beyond the energy bill to include online web data, SMS text messages or an information display in consumers’ premises. Providing a cost-effective, reliable communications mechanism is one of the most challenging aspects of a smart meter implementation. In New Zealand, the utilities have embraced smart metering and designed cost effective ways for it to be implemented. The New Zealand government has encouraged such a move to smart metering by ensuring the energy legislation is consistent with the delivery of benefits to the consumer while allowing innovation in this area. On the ground, AMS is a leader in the deployment of smart metering and associated services. Several of New Zealand’s energy retailers were looking for smart metering services for their residential and small business customers which will eventually account for over 500,000 meters when the multi-year national deployment program is concluded. To respond to these requirements, AMS needed to put together a solution that included data communications between each meter and the central data collection point and the solution proposed by Vodafone satisfied that requirement.
British Gas Modernizes its Operations with Innovative Smart Metering Deployment
British Gas Modernizes its Operations with Innovative Smart Metering Deployment
The UK government has mandated that smart meters are rolled out as standard across Great Britain by end of 2020, and this roll-out is estimated to create £14 billion in net benefits to the UK in consumer energy savings and lower energy generation demand, according to the Oxford Economics report, “The Value of Smart Metering to Great Britain.” While smart-metering systems have been deployed in many countries, the roll-out in Great Britain is unique because it is led by energy retailers, who have responsibility for the Electricity and Gas meters. The decision to have a retailer-led roll out was made by DECC (Department of Energy and Climate Change) to improve customer experience and drive consumer benefits. It has also led to some unique system-level requirements to support the unique local regulatory model.

The AMI market is expected to grow from USD 4.48 billion in 2015 to USD 9.19 billion in 2020, at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 15.5%.

Source: marketsandmarkets

The smart meters market is expected to grow from an estimated USD 12.79 billion in 2017 to USD 19.98 billion by 2022, registering a CAGR of 9.34% from 2017 to 2022.

Source: Markets and Markets


What is the business value of this IoT use case and how is it measured?
Your Answer

How does AMI impact an organization’s performance?

For city governments, the main value includes automated scheduled readings without dispatching personal to visit meters. This is labor intensive leading to a high cost that can be completely automated. Secondly, remotely switching meters on/off at a very granular level. Also, data collection presents opportunities for long term value creation that need to be further explored. Finally, firmware upgraded over the air enables continuous improvements at a low cost.

For end users (citizens and businesses), users are able to collect real-time data regarding their energy consumption and habits. Access to data for end users is referred to as "route B" and is not always included because the end users do not always have a justifiable ROI. Secondly, during peak hours messages can be sent to end users to request that they constrain usage for a period of time in return for an immediate monetary benefit.

How is the success of AMI measured for users and for the business?

First, the percent of reliable readings. If the proportion of successful readings fall below a specific threshold there will be a fine. Also, access to data is difficult to quantify and value.

What are the typical capabilities of AMI?

AMI enables two-way communication between utilities and customers. It now provides an array of functions such as remotely measuring electricity use, connect and disconnect service and monitoring voltage. Along with these functions, if AMI is used with customer technologies, than it may also enable utilities to offer new time-based rate programs to encourage consumers to reduce energy consumption and ultimately cost.

Where is the “edge” of the AMI solution deployed?

Smart Sensors are deployed on each building.


Who is involved in purchasing decisions, and who are the primary system users?
Your Answer

Which organizations, departments or individuals typically make the investment decisions and allocate the AMI budget?

Many departments are part of the decision process - each portion of the project could be a separate portion decided by a different department (for example hardware, connectivity, software). No single department has a say. In smaller deployments, city governments may outsource projects to consultancies who would run the RFP process and manage integration on the city's behalf. In these cases, the decision may be driven by the existing relationship.

Which organizations, departments, or individuals are responsible for operating and maintaining AMI?

Many organizations would find value in the metering infrastructure.

Who are the regular users of AMI?

Depending on the application of AMI, the users may vary. Typically from a utilities standpoint, the regular users of AMI would be the utilities company or the city government that provides the utility service. If utilities partnered with consumer technologies to create devices such as in-home displays and programmable communicating thermostat, then they may be users of AMI as well.

Which external stakeholders would benefit most from AMI data?

Data will typically not be shared externally due to privacy concerns.


Which technologies are used in a system and what are the critical technology?
Your Answer

What sensors are typically used to provide AMI data into the IoT system, and which factors define their deployment?

There are many global meter manufacturers and the technology is typically similar in functionality. There are quality differences but the core technologies are largely mature. Sensor technologies can typically be used with any communication technology.

What factors define the connectivity solutions used to provide both device-to-device and device-to-cloud communication?

Connectivity technologies such as Weightless are critical to enabling AMI solutions. The primary bottleneck is moving the data, not collecting the data. Review of wireless technologies is rigorous. Key variables include:

1. Reliability of wireless data transmission - how much data was sent reliably over a specific time period.

2. Total infrastructure cost - one bay station could be able to collect to 10x more units than another technology. Mesh communication shows promise but at present that distance that data can be reliably transmitted is too short to enable competitive infrastructure setup.

What factors impact the integration of this use case technologies into a cohesive system?

System integration and deployment can be implemented by the connectivity provider, another technology provider, or a traditional contractor. Often the technology providers will support a contractor who will deploy teams on the ground. Whereas bay stations are more likely to be deployed by the connectivity providers.


What data is obtained by the system and what are the critical data management decision points?
Your Answer

How is data obtained by AMI?

All data comes from the meter and sensors.

What data points are typically collected by the system?

Data points such as electricity consumption, utilities usage and metering are collected. These data points are collected to offer time-based rates or incentives. The aim of utilizing this data and offering incentives is to reduce peak demand and lower costs.

What volume of data is expected from each deployment and AMI as a whole?

Typically, AMI emits Kilowatts per hour. A large deployment may include 3 million meters, a meter may send 20-40 bytes per 15 minutes continuously. The challenge is not the volume but the consistency.

What other requirements define AMI data behavior?

Communications networks and systems that are capable of delivering accurate and sound streams of data in a timely manner. THese networks connect smart meters to head-end systems which manage data between smart meters and other information systems including MDMS, CIS, OMS and DMS. Along with networks, integration with information and management systems. Legacy information and management systems such as CIS, OMS and DMS were not designed to handle large amount of data from meters, therefore, information and management systems integration is a necessary process for utilities using AMI.


What business, integration, or regulatory challenges could impact deployment?
Your Answer

What business challenges could impact AMI deployment?

The extensive due diligence process which is typically 13 months. Many departments are part of the decision process - each portion of the project could be a separate tender run by a different department (for example hardware, connectivity, software). No single department has a say. In smaller deployments, city governments may outsource projects to consultancies who would run the RFP process and manage integration on the city's behalf. In these cases, the decision may be driven by existing relationship.

What regulatory challenges could impact AMI deployment?

Every regional government has its own regulations. These could conflict across layers of government.



Clement Dieudonne
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