A smart meter system consists of a digital electricity meter, a communication system, and a meter information management system. By enabling two-way interactions between end-users and utilities through a cloud-based platform, it is the most important infrastructure component of a modern smart grid system. Based on the solid foundation of related technologies in Taiwan,The Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI) said it would assist related companies to expand overseas markets.
According to the "Thailand 4.0" initiative that was launched in 2017, the Thai government aims to establish 100 smart cities within a 20-year period. Furthermore, this initiative is being implemented in conjunction with the development of a national smart grid. It is projected that around 1.3 million residences in the country's Eastern Economic Corridor will be fitted with a smart electricity meter. Since both Thailand and Taiwan have launched a national-level plan for smart grid development, the deployment of smart electricity meters is progressing at an aggressive pace between them as well. This trend is expected to generate a lot of business opportunities in the supply chain for new energy technologies.
Taiwan's four leading smart meter manufacturers cooperating with Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI) - Acbel Polytech, Arch Meter, Tatung Company, and DAS Technology - all have a comprehensive set of technical capabilities in system development and have secured international certifications for their products. Their expertise encompasses key components, system integration, and value-added applications.
Taiwan possesses the capabilities to develop the core technologies of a smart meter system. These include IC design, network hardware, inspection equipment, and other key components. Among Taiwanese smart meter manufacturers, Arch Meter is a major developer for the key components deployed in a smart grid. The company focuses on power monitoring, advanced power management, and integration of networking technologies. Its high-efficiency and automated solutions are adopted by utilities, manufacturers, enterprises, and homeowners. To further expand its presence in the high-end segment of the smart meter market, Arch Meter is developing premium products that combine AI-based power measurement with cutting-edge communication technologies. At the same time, it is forming R&D partnerships with other players to ensure successful market entry for its products.
Taiwan has established a complete system for the manufacturing, sales, and transportation of its products. It reaches almost every country in the major regions including North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, and Southeast Asia. Take Tatung Company for example. It collaborates with world-class companies such as Trilliant, Cyan, and Schneider with respect to smart grid solutions. After the acquisitions of several important certifications (e.g., JIS, TIS, and SIRIM), Tatung is now successfully marketing its products in Southeast Asia and Japan. Besides Tatung, DAS Technology is another Taiwanese smart meter manufacturer that maintains a solid reputation among international clients. For a long time, DAS has been a technological partner of ITRON, an American company and a global leader in automated meter reading systems. Thanks to this relationship, DAS has developed the capability to offer customized products that meet the specific needs of different countries.
Taiwanese smart manufacturers are also recognized for enhancing products with value-added applications. In the case of Acbel Polytech, it has been a specialist in power management technologies. With this foundation, the company is now proactively developing new solutions that connect smart meters with other applications such as EV charging and PLC. Likewise, DAS is searching for new ways to integrate advanced communication technologies into smart meters so that its hardware can serve under a general power management system, a home automation system, a 4G communication module, an IoT platform, etc. By leveraging IoT, smart meter manufacturers are going to create bigger opportunities for their products across different applications. Acbel is currently working to make its smart meters an essential element of the EV charging infrastructure. Meanwhile, DAS is extending the application scope of its products to the field of power management.
As smart meters are already deeply embedded in many countries' grid systems, governments around the world have begun drawing up a list of qualified suppliers in this field in order to reduce the risks related to national and data security. Since Taiwan plays a crucial role in the supply chains for semiconductor chips and communication equipment, it can provide solutions that fully integrate smart meters with the necessary information security technologies. In sum, Taiwan can become a trusted partner in the global smart grid supply chain.
TechNews has released a new video introducing Taiwan's smart meter industry on its YouTube channel: https://youtu.be/-9KtJee0lFA.
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