Boulder, CO, U.S.A. --- (METERING.COM) --- October 2, 2012 - Smart meter shipments in the second quarter of 2012 picked up steam from the previous soft quarter, according to Pike Research’s latest smart grid deployment tracker.

Global volumes totaled more than 17.9 million units, up sequentially by nearly 19 percent. The big driver was China, where the pace of deploying new meters forged ahead despite a slowing overall economy. In addition, the European market demonstrated significant increases, as smart meter rollouts started to gain momentum in some countries, especially in Spain and the United Kingdom.

In North America, meter shipments grew from the previous quarter. Utilities continued to deploy devices since many projects funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) need to reach completion this year and early next year. Seasonality also likely played a role, as better weather is more conducive to major fieldwork projects. However, the quicker pace will not last much longer in North America. With stimulus money drying up and the big wave of deployments past, the next few years will see a slowing number of new projects – and many will be smaller in size.

Elsewhere, the move to smart metering was noted in several new projects announced in both Southeast Asia and Latin America – a sign that the next wave of growth will come from outside North America. This shift will challenge those meter and communications vendors that have not scaled their products in this way. Yet, it will favor those with a solid reputation and the ability to execute quickly on a global basis.

In North America during Q2 2012, Landis+Gyr remained in the lead position among vendors, the tracker found. Its cumulative share of planned meters was 24 percent, benefitting from several ongoing deployments. Itron followed closely behind Landis+Gyr with a 21 percent vendor selection share. GE Energy and Sensus, each with 18 percent, tied for the third position, while Elster and Echelon collectively garnered 7 percent of the market.