Electricity meters have experienced considerable change in recent years as one-way and two-way network connectivity have become increasingly common. Even within the smart meter category, also known as advanced metering infrastructure (AMI), technological capabilities continue to expand.

According to a recent report from Pike Research, a recent change is the growing penetration of home area networking (HAN) connectivity in smart meters.

While a smart meter can transmit energy usage data over two-way communications networks, a Smartmeter with HAN capabilities will also allow for remote meter reading, automated outage notification, and the ability to interact with Zigbee devices such as thermostats or other electric appliances so consumers can better manage their electricity use.

The market research firm forecasts that HAN capabilities will be included in 49% of all smart meters shipped worldwide by 2013, and the North American HAN-enabled meter penetration rate will be even higher at 81% by the same year.

The remaining 51% of all worldwide smart meters will be Basic AMI meters without HAN functionality.

Pike estimates that ZigBee is expected to lead the HAN technology race with approximately 87% market share. Other radio frequency (RF) and power line communications (PLC) technologies will also have a role, particularly in Europe, Africa, and the Middle East.

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