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低出力広域無線通信(LPWA)の公益事業者用途:スマート計測など

Utility Applications for LPWA: Smart Metering & More

 

出版社 出版年月電子媒体価格ページ数
Heavy Reading
ヘビーリーディング社
2017年8月US$2,495
エンタープライズライセンス
20

サマリー

米国調査会社ヘビーリーディング社(Heavy Reading)の調査レポート「低出力広域無線通信(LPWA)の公益事業者用途:スマート計測など」は、公益事業者セクターでのLPWAの用途を査定し、公益事業分野で利用されそうで、競争力のある通信のアプローチのある主要なLPWA技術を比較している。市場のサプライサイドからの見解や、通信インフラ、コンポーネント、機器、プラットフォームなどの主要なベンダを特定している。電気、ガス、水道事業のLPWAネットワークの利用についての事例を示している。

 


 

EXECUTIVE SUMMARYPDF

Even before the standardization in 2016 of two 3GPP public cellular technologies designed for low power, wide area (LPWA) applications in machine-to-machine (M2M) and Internet of Things (IoT) communications, wireless network operators and their supplier ecosystem worked with electricity, gas and water companies to deliver connectivity services using short message service (SMS) messaging and General Packet Radio Service (GPRS)- and Long Term Evolution (LTE)-based data services.

But the relationship between wireless telecom and utilities hasn't been as strong as telecom players might hope. Utilities are generally conservative and build infrastructure for very long life; they value security and robustness, and the idea of public networks doesn't necessarily fit well with these guiding infrastructure principles. However, utilities have embarked – along with companies in every other industry sector – on a digitization journey that is seeing big changes to the ways utilities manage their business, and LPWA is in a good position to be a part of that transformation.

Developers of LPWA networks are eyeing up the utility markets, as in theory there should be an excellent fit between the characteristics of the technologies and the requirements of many utility applications – both existing network monitoring and asset management applications, as well as newer smart metering, demand management, smart grid and automation-based applications.

LPWA usage by utilities is still at a relatively early stage, and many of the most promising applications (especially smart metering) have been developing for several years using a wide range of alternative communications approaches designed to do specific jobs very well that have, to some extent, bedded-in.

The utility sector remains a promising one for LPWA, not least because utilities themselves are seeing the benefits of becoming more digital throughout their operations, and because of the increasing coverage of networks and availability of key enabling components, such as communications modules from a broadening ecosystem. As utilities move from proprietary communications protocols and data formats to IP and industry standard data structures so they can better make use of new sources of data, there is an opportunity for new deployments of communications equipment and networks.

Utility Applications for LPWA: Smart Metering & More examines the applications for LPWA in the utility sector and compares the leading LPWA technologies that have gained traction in the utility space (and the major competing communications approaches). Further, it looks at the supply side of the market and identifies leading vendors of communications infrastructure, components, devices and platforms relevant to utility markets. Finally, this report gives examples of how the electricity, gas and water industries use LPWA networks.

The following excerpt shows Heavy Reading's assessment of the suitability of the main LPWA technologies for the three broad categories of utility applications described in the report, based on design performance, cost over the long term (taking into account at a high level the likely trajectory of module, infrastructure and service costs) and potential for the supply ecosystem to support the technology.

Utility Applications for LPWA: Smart Metering & More is published in PDF format.



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[プレスリリース原文]

Structural Issues Facing LPWA in the Utility Sector

Heavy Lifting Analyst Notes
Danny Dicks
8/2/2017
 

 

On the face of it, there's a great fit between low-power, wide-area (LPWA) networks and utility communication requirements. But one of the intriguing and complicating factors is the variety of utility market structures seen in different countries -- and the variations between electricity, gas and water markets. There are many country-specific subtleties, but it is possible to identify at least three models of market structure:

  • Fully vertically integrated players (producer, distribution network owner and retailer) -- possibly with national or regional monopolies -- more typical of local or regional water utilities. Most countries have no national transmission infrastructure for water; in some countries water consumption is not metered.
  • Monopoly local providers of electricity or gas at distribution network and retail layers, with a separate monopoly national producer and transmission infrastructure company. This is more typical of countries where municipalities have strong control over many local services.
  • More fully deregulated competitive markets where consumers have a wide choice of retail suppliers and where dynamic wholesale markets exist. This is more common in electricity, but can also apply in gas and water sectors.

On top of this needs to be added the variety of approaches taken in different countries to the provision of communications services for mandated smart metering programs -- from single national communications infrastructure providers to local utility-controlled networks.

What strikes me is the contrast of this complexity and structural fragmentation with the simplicity and global homogeneity promised by the Internet of Things (IoT) platform and network services (in the interest of driving up volumes and driving down costs). It's easy to see that the go-to-market strategies of LPWA communications service providers and equipment vendors need careful thought.

There is a second architectural issue to consider, too – and that's related to the communications requirements of utility applications. LPWA networks are essentially based on star, or star-of-stars, topologies. The benefits are that infrastructure costs are kept low because a few basestation sites can handle a very wide area and a very large number of connected devices. But that's not traditionally how utility communications networks are built: the layers of home area networks (HANs), neighborhood area networks (NANs) and field area networks (FANs), including those using mesh architectures, make significant use of data concentrators and gateways, allowing for appropriate communications technologies to be used based on best performance in different locations, and ensuring the reliability of connectivity that utilities put very high on their list of requirements.

LPWA technologies are used in electricity, gas and water networks, and there are several big trials underway; however, there is still work to be done by their advocates to demonstrate that the way they are delivered, and their performance, fully meet the needs of utilities.

The Heavy Reading report "LPWA for Utility Applications: Smart Metering and More" examines the applications for LPWA in the utility sector; compares the leading LPWA technologies that have gained traction in the utility space (and the major competing communications approaches); looks at the supply side of the market and identifies leading vendors of communications infrastructure, components, devices and platforms relevant to utility markets; and gives examples of the use of LPWA networks in electricity, gas and water industries.

— Danny Dicks, Contributing Analyst, Heavy Reading

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