After declining for the fourth consecutive year in 2020, investment in electricity grids finally began to rise again in 2021. There’s good reason to hope that investment will continue to grow throughout 2022.
That means a potentially huge influx of funding for smart meter brands from smart building managers and the municipalities in charge of smart cities.
If you’re a product leader for a smart meter brand, you need to be ready to take advantage of this new opportunity.
But competition is fierce: Recent Fortune Business Insights research found that the current smart meter market is close to being a monopoly. ABB, Siemens, and Landis+Gyr have almost complete dominance over the market thanks to their global reach and their ‘diverse product portfolio’.
But there’s still hope for other smart meter brands. Fortune also found that smaller and more regional players are starting to disrupt that monopoly, finding ways to offer more advanced smart meter technology and more economical solutions to customers.
Think your brand could be one of the ones to win customers away from the tech giants? Just like the brands profiled in the Fortune Business Insights report, you’ll need to find ways to set your brand apart from the competition and show you can stand out against these major corporations.
Which means you’ll need to get clever with your marketing – and find ways to show that you’re going above and beyond to provide your customers with the best product and the best service.
Here are three ways you can compete with the ‘big three’ brands and win more market share.
Show customers your devices offer more functionality
Your smart meter is likely one of a huge number of devices feeding information on power use into a smart grid, giving municipalities and smart building operators data that helps them detect problems in the network, anticipate energy use, and support their shift to renewable energy.
In short, there’s a lot riding on your devices.
So it goes without saying that customers will flock to IoT brands that show they’ve taken extra steps to ensure their devices are more reliable, offer greater security, and are easier to use. The ones who’ve shown that their devices can integrate easily into this complex network – and are reliable enough to be worthy of customers’ trust.
But what does it take to make a device that’s more functional and reliable than the competition? You might want to consider:
- Showing that you’ve thoroughly tested major functionality points – Customers will want to see that you’re meeting their standards for latency, time synchronization (to ensure customers have up-to-date and time-accurate data), and connectivity.
- Working with smart building managers and electricity companies to provide more insight – Across the market, smart meter providers are standing out from the competition by integrating new features that make life easier for their customers. Can you help your customers process information faster by integrating edge computing? Can you add AI-enabled analytics to give them more detailed insights into their usage? Can you enable proactive alerts to help your customers anticipate a potential spike in energy usage?
Make your smart meter the easiest to integrate
Most of the time when smart building managers look for a smart meter, they’re not just looking for a way to monitor their energy use.
Increasingly, your smart meter is going to become part of a much larger network of devices in a smart building. Your customers invest in them because they want to use the data your smart meter collects to run their buildings more efficiently.
Which means your smart meter can’t operate in isolation. You need to make it easy for your customers to look at the data it gathers in context, alongside data on everything from building temperature and humidity to building occupancy and lighting systems.
The simplest way to do this is to make sure your device can integrate with all the major building management systems (BMS).
If a customer can easily link your device up to their BMS, the value of your device will multiply rapidly. Unlike some of your competitors, you’ll give them the ability to do things like highlight energy-wasting equipment, optimize the usage of things like smart HVACs, or compare your data with data from motion sensors to predict peaks and troughs in energy usage.
To ensure that your device integrates easily with building management systems, think about:
- How your data is collected and stored – Is it collected in a format that’s easily processed by a BMS?
- How your data can be interpreted – Is it easy for customers to skim through data provided by your device and pull out insights? Have you created dashboards that let customers see at a glance the current state of their energy usage?
Make your device the most secure smart meter on the market
If you’re going to convince your customers to install a device that transmits data all day, every day, you’re going to need to show them that you’ve gone above and beyond to keep it secure.
Particularly when many municipalities and smart building managers see a vulnerable smart meter as a back door to their entire power infrastructure – including elements that could be catastrophic if downed.
Those fears have only become heightened since it emerged that electrical utilities are among the most vulnerable targets for cyber attacks.
If you want your smart meter to stand out from the big players in the market, you’ll need to see this increased security awareness as an opportunity, not a challenge.
Prove that your device is more secure than others on the market, and you’ll address one of the biggest fears holding back widespread IoT adoption – and win market share in the process.
If you want to improve the security of your smart meter – and market it as a more secure device, you should look for endpoint security protection that:
- Is embedded into your devices – Look for software that can be embedded into your devices both during production and post deployment.
- Provides continuous protection – Because smart meters are such a high-value target, hackers are evolving their approaches all the time. Make sure that you can easily patch and update your security agent to keep up with the latest developments through remote updates.
- Is designed for IoT – Look for a partner who understands the most common forms of IoT attack and the most effective way to protect your devices.
Could your brand be the next smart meter market leader?
As investment in smart grids and smart meters ramps up over the next few years, competition between IoT brands is only going to get hotter.
If you want to make sure your IoT brand stays in the race – and stands out against the ‘big three’ smart meter giants – you’ll need to pull out all the stops to make sure your brand differentiates itself from the rest. That means investing time into strategies like:
- Making devices more affordable, whether through reducing the cost and time needed to install a device, or by cutting the cost of the smart meter itself.
- Offering a more reliable device and addressing some of the concerns about device reliability that have cropped up in recent years with thorough testing.
- Making your device more secure by partnering with an expert provider like Firedome to deliver proactive, embedded cyber security measures.
It won’t be easy. But if you can invest in making your product affordable, reliable, and secure, you’ll be well on your way to creating an IoT brand that’s built to last.