For a while, utilities have been sending data and communications signals with the help of power lines. With the increased installation of state-of-the-art metering infrastructure (AMI), this type of communication has come into the spotlight.
Metering efforts in Europe and Asia Pacific especially depend on both proprietary and standards-based deployments of narrowband power line communication (PLC) technology.
This facilitates two-way communications between the utility and the meter.
In its latest report, “Power Line Communications for Smart Grids,” Pike Research (News - Alert) has turned the spotlight on the numerous types of PLC technology used today in each world region.
The company has also provided forecasts and insights into the technologies and standards that will be installed in the next decade.
According to the company, total shipments of PLC nodes are estimated to be about 68 million units by 2020. This is an increase from 41.2 million in 2011. A major share of the market will come from the Asia Pacific region, the report has stated.
“As utilities continue to invest in smart grid infrastructure, PLC systems are often the top choice for connecting electricity or gas meters, rather than wireless based solutions,” said senior research analyst Neil Strother. “In particular, many European and Asia Pacific utilities will deploy PLC-based systems because they can be more affordable, and allow for more rapid deployments than adopting a wireless technology. Although data speeds over PLC systems are typically slower than wireless, PLC does provide a high degree of reliability.”
Recently, the company released another report in which it stated that the demand for electric utility customer engagement platforms will nearly double within the next five years.
According to the company, this also includes billing and customer information system (CIS) software and services. This is an increase from $2.3 billion in 2011 to $4 billion by 2017.
Edited by Braden Becker