Meter data management (MDM) systems are software systems that accept data from utility meters, validate those data, and make the data available in many applications. Historically, MDM systems collected meter reading data from advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) and automated meter reading (AMR) systems to create accurate bills with little manual intervention. That is changing. New requirements are radically different from traditional MDM functions, requiring radically different approaches to building and delivering next-generation MDM systems. MDM systems have emerged as the centerpiece of the AMI environment, a key component of the smart grid. According to a recent report from Pike Research, the expansion of smart grid deployments is leading to significant growth in installation of MDM systems and the adoption of related professional services. The cleantech market intelligence firm forecasts that, by 2018, 98% of all smart meters in North America will be covered by an MDM system.

In other developed economies, such as Western Europe and the advanced economies of East Asia, that percentage will reach 80%.

“MDM systems will create a system of record that enables many departments of a utility to function more efficiently than ever before,” says senior analyst Bob Lockhart. “Utilities expect MDM to enable more efficient grid operations, and vendors with experience in operations or customer care are increasingly entering the market.”

The emerging competitive landscape includes specialist MDM vendors such as eMeter, EnergyICT, Ecologic Analytics, and Aclara; meter manufacturers that have their own MDM suites, such as Itron; and real-time data and event vendors such as OSIsoft. Meanwhile, large players in the database and enterprise resource planning (ERP) sector, such as SAP and Oracle, are aggressively targeting the utilities as well. Such vendors could help solve the technical challenge of the “data deluge” likely to accompany the collection of large amounts of data from millions of meters.

Total worldwide MDM revenue from both software and services is expected to reach $490 million by 2018, representing almost a ten-fold increase from 2011.