The UK Smart Metering Implementation Programme

An Overview Of CyanConnode’s SMETS2 Contract With Toshiba

Global warming and the supply of sustainable energy have been in the spotlight since Kyoto 1997, which triggered governments worldwide to introduce national energy efficiency policies. Subsequently, the EU introduced the ‘Triple 20 target for 2020’, which sets out three key targets of 20% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, 20% of EU energy coming from renewables and 20% improvement in energy efficiency.

In response to these targets the UK government put in motion an energy efficiency policy, including a key programme to implement smart metering across the country. The UK Smart Meter Implementation Programme (UK SMIP) is a major national infrastructure project that will involve the roll-out of 53 million electric and gas meters across the country by 2020, helping Consumers to better understand and control their energy usage, whilst providing unprecedented energy forecasting and energy generation real time data to meet Kyoto decarbonisation goals.

The roll-out of first generation smart meters (SMETS1) began in 2013 and whilst providing key functionality SMETS1 meters are not currently able to link into the communication network that connects smart meters to the Energy Suppliers’ IT systems. Consequently, most Consumers have found that upon changing Energy Supplier that their SMETS1 meter only operates in ‘Dumb Mode’, (the meter doesn’t transmit readings to the new Energy Supplier nor provide the Consumer with monetary usage).

A close collaborative partnership between CyanConnode, Telefónica and Toshiba resulted in a solution for second generation smart meters (SMETS2) to overcome network challenges to ensure that a smart meter remains ‘smart’. Telefónica, (appointed as the preferred SMIP communications service provider for two thirds of the UK), promoted CyanConnode’s Radio Frequency (RF) Machine-To Machine (M2M) technology to extend the reach of its existing mobile (cellular) network, into locations where cellular signal was not available (‘not-spots’).

Embedding CyanConnode’s technology into the Toshiba SMETS2 Telefónica Communications Hub has enabled smart meters to be located in ‘not-spots’. Anthony Shaw, Telefónica UK Smart Metering Director said, “CyanConnode is one of the very few suppliers globally that has the experience and leading-edge technology to support smart meter deployment in areas where there is no cellular coverage.”

In June 2018, Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) secretary, Greg Clark announced that 1,000 SMETS2 devices had been installed and that the figure was a “significant milestone because it represents the beginning of the roll-out of the next generation of meters”. In May 2019, the UK’s Data Communications Company (DCC) announced the installation of the one millionth SMETS2 meter to the country’s grid.

CyanConnode has a contract with Toshiba to provide software licenses and support fees for the SMETS2 Telefonica Communications Hub. The Toshiba contract was originally calculated to deliver £24m of revenue based on the assumption that 10% of SMETS2 meters would require a ‘not-spot’ solution. However, if the percentage of SMETS2 meter installations in ‘not-spots’ is greater than 10%, then CyanConnode’s revenue expectations from the Toshiba contract will increase on a pro-rata basis. The roll-out of SMETS2 meters began to gain momentum in the fourth quarter of 2018.

CyanConnode’s technology is a standards-based, IPv6, Sub-GHz narrowband RF mesh network, which is optimised for exceptional performance and provides end-to-end quality of service. Reduced total cost of ownership is achieved by using less power, having superior network coverage and greater spectrum-efficiency than competitor products. Secure M2M communication is achieved whilst using the licence-free industrial, scientific, and medical radio band (ISM) which supports interoperability between devices in city-wide and country-wide deployments.