Pike Research Examines Private Utility Network Market (9/13/12)
Thursday, September 13, 2012 | Comments

New research shows that utility deployments of field area networks will contract this year and next and then expand steadily during the next several years. By 2020, the report concludes, annual worldwide shipments of these communications nodes will reach 14.3 million.

The systems used to connect the various devices within a utility’s operations, including smart meters, concentrators, distribution assets, control and protection equipment, and substation equipment, are known as field area networks (FANs). Utilities are increasingly creating common platforms to connect all these devices to enable simpler, more unified visibility, management and control.

The report from Pike Research found that deployments of these networks for utilities can use RF mesh, Wi-Fi, WiMAX or Long Term Evolution (LTE) technology.

“The development of field area networks is being driven largely by a shift in the way smart grid-based products and services are being positioned and marketed,” said Bob Gohn, chief research director. “Vendors are making a concerted effort to reposition themselves as platform vendors and integrators, rather than as simply suppliers of a specific piece of equipment, such as smart meters or radios. At the same time, utilities have recognized the value of creating interconnected communications networks that will allow them to better manage the distribution grid.”

The market for private utility FANs will be led by North America, which will see 82 percent of world shipments in 2012, the report said. That share will decline steadily during the 2012 – 2020 forecast period, but North America will still account for 44 percent of world shipments by 2020. The fastest growth in the decade will come in Latin America, where shipments will increase at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 48 percent.

The report, “Private Wireless Utility Field Area Networks,” examines the use of privately owned, built and managed wireless technology infrastructure used to deploy FANs. The report covers the range of technologies used in the networks. Profiles of 16 key industry vendors are included along with worldwide market forecasts, segmented by region and technology, for unit shipments, revenue and average selling prices through 2020.

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