Why wireless is the future of advanced metering infrastructure

Few people seem to realize just how seriously wireless connectivity will come to define our day-to-day lives.

close up shot of meter reading
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As the new year roars into its full swing, innovators everywhere are beginning to ask themselves what technological advancements 2018 may have in store that could change the faces of our societies forever. Increasingly, tech analyst and investors eager to find and back the next big thing are looking to advancements in wireless capabilities, with many believing it to be the key to the future of our infrastructure.

So how will wireless technology impact advanced metering infrastructure as we know it today, and what will the smart grids and smart cities of tomorrow look like thanks to this tech? A quick dive into recent advancements shows that a wireless world is just around the corner.

A new era of wireless connectivity

For years, the success of the internet was largely measured by how many people it had reached, and as countless millions logged on to the web for the first time, demands for new services inevitably rose. The rise of wireless communications may have already taken the world by storm, but new innovations are still forthcoming, and the rise of the smart city could very well pave the way for a new wireless revolution.

Smart cities and the smart grids that supply them now rely on advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) more than ever, and the glut of data that’s generated by today’s consumers when they pay for their utilities can be put to incredibly good use. AMI could very well become one of the defining aspects of the smart cities of the future, and its widespread adoption could lead to immeasurable savings and greater ease of use for consumers and suppliers of utilities alike. For AMI to become more widely adopted, however, wireless services will need to keep up with it.

The existing problems that plague modern landlines, like severely limited scalability and seriously low bandwidth, can be greatly reduced by a widespread adoption of wireless tech. If smart cities of the future rely on wireless networks to meet their utility demands, they could count on lower costs and greater bandwidth for consumers at all income levels. Wireless networks also have the capacity to collect data from devices which are digitally-dormant today, as the existing internet of things has shown that virtually everything can eventually be connected to the grid.

There will be challenges for proponents of a wireless future to overcome, of course; wireless networks may have slightly more security vulnerabilities, for instance, but greater investments into cybersecurity protocols and an emphasis on building a durable grid more resistant to outside attacks would go a long way towards ensuring wireless networks remain the better option for smart cities.

The future of AMI is in smart cities

Advanced metering infrastructure will become a household name in the smart cities of the 21st century, and for good reason; the ability to collect data on the massive utilities consumption stemming from burgeoning cities will be invaluable to utility companies and consumers both. So-called “micro-grids” can be expected to form, provided wireless networks are adopted en-masse, that will enable the collection of data in a greater scope and with higher efficiency than ever before.

While wireless mesh networks will rapidly become a staple of smart cities across the globe, they won’t be adopted overnight, as any new technology should expect to endure a brief period of competition before taking over. Consumers and utility companies alike will both soon come to love wireless mesh networks, however, particularly as they’ll allow for a greater number of digital devices to be seamlessly connected to the networks that power the cities of tomorrow.

Smart cities and the internet of things itself are defined by interconnectivity, and few things offer so great a capacity to connect human beings and the digital devices they use as wireless network meshes already in use in the virtual office. Smart grids and metering infrastructure of the future will demand solutions to interconnectivity problems more so than anything else, and the ability for wireless mesh networks to connect a broad variety of digital services will quickly prove invaluable to them.

Wireless networks won’t just allow utility companies to collect data on their consumers in real time, thus cutting down on cost and heightening how much we know about utility consumption patterns, but will also help cut down on the cost of mass communication that our currently imposed on our communications and power infrastructure.

It’s clear that a wireless-defined future is just around the corner for advanced metering infrastructure, but few seem to realize just how seriously wireless connectivity will come to define our day-to-day lives. As smart cities continue to spread across the globe, and untold millions connect to smart grids with their billions of data-producing devices, expect wireless tech to become the norm for the tomorrow’s societies.

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