Algeria, November 8, 2018

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Smart Metering Systems Set to Revolutionise Africa’s Consumer Energy Sector

Smart metering systems will revolutionise Africa’s consumer energy sector as the continent continues to embrace this relatively new technology. In fact, new data indicates that smart meter shipments to Africa and Middle East are expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of over 36% in the years leading up to 2022.

This is according to Sherry Zameer, Gemalto Internet of Things (IOT) Senior Vice President for the Central Europe, Middle-East, Africa (CEMEA) region.

Gemalto is an international digital security company providing software applications, secure personal devices such as smart cards and tokens, and managed services. It is the world’s largest manufacturer of SIM cards.

Simply put, a smart meter is an electronic device that records consumption of electric energy and communicates the information to the electricity supplier for monitoring and billing.

“The potential of the Internet of Things (IOT) to make consumers’ lives more convenient is well-documented. One area in which it can deliver immediate benefits and significantly change how a household or company in Africa manages and keeps track of its energy use is smart metering,” Zameer explained in an announcement issued this week.

Rather than rely on estimated energy use to calculate bills, or physically visit customers’ homes to take meter readings, a smart meter allows energy suppliers to have a real-time view of a household’s or business’ energy consumption, resulting in more accurate billing.

Smart metering systems also open up opportunities for better management of the demand and supply of energy. Utilities can track energy which is stored and available for purchase for other players who are in demand.

“Today’s systems no longer rely on just fossil fuels, but also on renewable energy, that more and more parties produce and sell, when not using it for their own consumption,” said Zameer.

According to Gemalto, Africa and the Middle East are now seen as the next frontier for the implementation of this technology. Africa, in particular, is experiencing massive population growth combined with growing economies in many countries.

“Electrification is obviously a key driver in this kind of development and, as with other technological implementations, Africa is in a position to adopt new technologies immediately because it has few legacies,” Zameer continued.

Figures from ABI Research, an organisation that provides strategic guidance for visionaries needing market foresight on the most compelling transformative technologies, support the view that Africa is beginning to leap onto the smart metering bandwagon.

The figures show that smart meter shipments to Africa and the Middle East region are predicted to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 36.6% between 2011 and 2022. Revenues of companies involved in smart metering are set to grow by an equivalent 35.4% over the same period.

“It’s clear that the smart meter market is set to grow significantly across Africa in the near term,” commented Zameer.

Gemalto believes this growth will be bolstered by several market drivers, such as theft and revenue protection, rising urbanization rates, improved operations among others.

“With this rise, comes the need for governments to understand end-to-end security of the smart energy ecosystem and the dedicated solutions available that provide encrypted keys and hardened key storage into smart meters, right from the manufacturing steps, as well as throughout the lifecycle of the smart meters,” Zameer concluded.

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