Adapting AMI solutions to Asia’s needs

Innovation and adaptation will see Asia’s advanced metering infrastructure reach new heights.
Published: Fri 08 Jul 2016

Southeast Asia has a growing advanced metering infrastructure (AMI)  market that continues to show major progress and promises significant benefits for consumers and large opportunities for vendors by the end of this decade.

Asian countries continue to develop and electrify quickly, accelerating the benefits of smart grid and spurring governments to develop smart grid roadmaps and deployment plans.

In recent years, smart grid deployments have begun in Singapore; Malaysia has set deployment plans for rolling out over 8 million AMI meters; Thailand has established numerous pilot projects that will total over 1 million AMI meters; and foreign investment is finding its way to smart grid development throughout the region.

Overall, Southeast Asia finds itself behind developed countries and leading emerging market regions for smart grid potential, but recently, it has closed the gap significantly, and high growth ensures continued progress in the near future.

We spoke to experts at Asian Utility Week who gave us greater insight into AMI development in the region.

Embrace the new, forget the old

Dr Sukanta Kumar Jena, the Head of China, Hong Kong and South East Asia at Cyient, spoke about the many opportunities in the region for AMI and how best to harness the potential. He pointed out that Asia’s focus has shifted to new digital technologies over the last few years in the energy sector which will create a need for data management.

He added that local rules and regulations have to be worked around in each country as digital transformation unfolds. He pointed out that utilities should leave behind traditional ways of doing business and rather embrace new technologies and innovative ways of doing things. 

Frost and Sullivan's Principal Consultant Adhishek Kumar, echoed this by explaining that Asia’s energy sector needs an “entire transformation” when it comes to the move towards digital. During the interview he also gave some insight into AMI developments as well as the challenges of AMI in Asia.

Relevant AMI solutions for Asia

Azmy Ameer, Director at BBS Access in Singapore spoke about the enabling of the AMI future of emerging markets including Asia.

While the region’s common issues include energy costs, energy losses (technical and non technical) and escalating electricity demand which can all be resolved with AMI, he says that it is important to understand the diverse challenges of each utility and to find ways to convert them into economic opportunities.

“Craft it, develop it and localise it,” he said.

Funding for AMI rollouts remains a challenge for Asia but Ameer says that innovation in technology and operations will be the real game changer when it comes to AMI development. In addition, he highlights the importance of learning from others’ experience and then adapting this for local relevance.

“Don’t buy solutions off the shelf. Rather engage with vendors to understand unique challenges and then it is possible to craft solutions according to real needs,” he explained.