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Although the scope for meter data management (MDM) in Europe is currently limited, the market is slated to take off in the foreseeable future, according to a new report from Frost & Sullivan.

The main driver for the adoption of MDM solutions in Europe is the need for utilities to manage and use the growing volume and variety of data created by widespread smart meter installations. As awareness grows on the importance of high-volume data management and data pattern analytics, the report says MDM will become an important investment category for the deployment of smart meters.

However, the report finds that despite significant investments, the pace of implementation of smart meters differs by region; the majority of European countries are running pilots, while others are preparing for mass rollouts. Initially, demand for MDM solutions will come from large distribution system operators, with many midsize companies following suit.

"Although many utilities still fail to consider smart metering as a software project, the number of those that demonstrate strong interest in energy loss reduction and asset management is on increase," says Frost & Sullivan’s Ewa Tajer. "Consequently, MDM solutions will evolve into smart grid platforms."

What may hamper the implementation of additional MDM functionalities is utilities' approach to innovation, the report notes. Due to a lack of ICT experience, utilities are concentrating on potential risks and strongly focusing on the basic functionalities related to data acquisition, meter management and simple consumption information. This approach may prevent many of them from fully capitalizing on the potential of MDM. Therefore, the report says, finding a balance between cost and functionality is crucial.

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