The utility industry embraces digital technologies, not merely to survive but to thrive amid these challenging times. The smart metering industry, covering residential, commercial and industrial solutions, is experiencing explosive growth. The market of monitoring utilities, including electricity, water, and gas, is estimated to be worth $19.98 billion by 2022 and $26 billion by 2026. According to the Globaldata Smart Meter report, 588 million smart meters will be installed by 2022. The trend results from an increase in IoT use cases, estimated to reach 20.4 billion devices by 2020.
Digitalisation is considered an essential cornerstone from which utilities can realise new efficiencies related to meter-to-cash applications and set in motion the foundations to achieve long-term sustainability goals.
Backed by government initiatives and mandates, energy utilities are becoming increasingly reliant on cellular connectivity and the accompanying technologies, such as Embedded Subscriber Identity Modules (eSIM), to meet their obligations while also looking to leverage digitisation to reinvent how they do business in the future ultimately. Also, there are many challenges that smart metering faces that the eSIM addresses explicitly.
What are the Security Challenges?
With the increase of connectivity, systems are becoming high-value targets for increasing cyber-attacks. Unprotected, individual meters can also become easy access point to the broader network, if their security is undermined. Smart Meters can be vulnerable to third parties attempting to make some sort of gain from energy theft without proficient security. Attacks can also impact the services of utility companies, as they base their supply management on the Smart Meter Data. If they are not encrypted and protected, their consumption data could be accessed by unauthorised entities.
What are the Logistical Challenges?
Connecting Smart Meters to back-end servers can be achieved through multiple mediums, although cellular has advantages that are unparalleled to others. Cellular technologies offer widespread coverage, increased security and quick implementation time, setting it apart from non-cellular, less secure and somewhat expensive solutions.
The eSIM Solution
eSIM technology. It is useful for remote management and personalisation. Smart meters are often dispersed or inaccessible and usually have a life cycle of 10-15 years. Future threats can also be mitigated through remote security updates and upgrades. The alternative of doing site visits each time something needs to be updated would be extremely complex with any other connectivity solution besides cellular. Deploying eSIM has the potential to save millions in operating costs over the coming years.
Furthermore, eSIM enables secure remote software updates for Smart Meters to update features or to provide new services, which would be too complex while using other network connections. The risk of security breaches and costs is further brought down with the established network authentication, allowing only authorised devices to connect to the utility device networks.
eSIM addresses multiple security and logistical challenges of Smart Meters. Oasis Smart Sim are GSMA-certified providers of eSIM technologies and solutions. Allowing for secure development of SIM functionalities, such as Smart Meter compatibility, Oasis can offer their connectivity solutions. Contact us to find out more about how Oasis can provide their tailored eSIM technology solutions.