Advanced Metering Infrastructure Cost Challenges

According to a recent report from the Edison Foundation, over 65 million Smart Meters
have been installed to date in the U.S. representing over 50% of U.S. households. If your Smart Meter Infrastructure deployments utilize cellular bandwidth to collect and transmit data in your Field Area or Wide Area Networks, you are likely experiencing a proliferation of telemetry hardware with a corresponding increase in carrier data consumption costs. Public cellular solutions provide flexible, high-bandwidth capabilities but can cost more than anticipated in the absence of the right telemetry cost management strategy.

Tricks to Controlling Machine-to-Machine Costs

One of the great trials of managing an extensive network of cellular machine-to-machine telemetry devices, particularly during the dynamic period of rapid deployment, is to carefully size data pools each month. Telemetry certainly demands a different management strategy than a typical data pool of smartphones, tablets and data cards. In addition, data quantities are purchased in much more granular size increments with higher penalties when left uncontrolled.

While mobile carriers offer reduced-cost telemetry rate plans, the variability of data usage can be more pronounced than with traditional data devices leading to invoice surprises. Mobile carriers are not suited to help here because they don’t have an application understanding or a sense of the data capacities expected from a Smart Grid network. Carriers provide the rudimentary capabilities through flexible pooling options but it takes time and experience to become proficient in understanding the usage patterns and applying the right optimization techniques.

Cost Scalability Issues

In principle, this cost management problem may not appear complex, but when a population of telemetry devices undergoes monumental growth in short periods of time and when unit quantities begin to surpass the population of employee mobile devices, telemetry quickly attracts upper management’s attention as an expense item. Organizations who are not using automation to track and monitor these challenges will find themselves chasing best practices after the damage is done. For effective telemetry management, it is necessary to have the ability to understand the data usage going into the final days of a bill cycle, something that is less crucial for other data pools. The right approach creates opportunities to make real time, significant cost-saving adjustments.

Whether your organization is in the planning stages of an extensive Advanced Metering Infrastructure roll out, or if your roll-out is complete and you are wrestling with run rate costs, you should work with a company like MobilSense who has expertise in the unique aspects of managing telemetry data pools. Our automation enables real-time optimization of telemetry rate plans. For one major U.S. utility, it generates 10% savings a month on a base of over 30,000 telemetry devices with a cost/device consistently below $2.50/month. Check out our customer success stories detailing studies of organizations like yours who rely on our industry-leading, cost saving solution, MobilSentry™.

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