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NetComm Wireless has been selected by SP AusNet, through its integration partner Ericsson, to supply the 3G communications component for the Victorian Government’s mandatory statewide rollout of smart meters.

The initial order will represent revenue of $12.5 million to NetComm Wireless. The vast majority of this revenue will be earned by the third quarter of the next financial year.

Singapore owned SP AusNet will manage the replacement of existing mechanical meters with digital smart meters across northern and eastern Victoria. The 3G communications card designed by NetComm was purpose built to interoperate with SP AusNet’s preferred smart meter provider, Landis+Gyr (and Australian company acquired by Toshiba in 2011).

“NetComm Wireless has targeted the smart meter sector as a key area of growth, and this marks our first major smart meter win,´ said David Stewart, NetComm Wireless CEO. ”We are currently engaged in a wireless smart meter trial in North America and see excellent prospects for deployment to other smart grid projects across the globe.

“This 3G deployment is one of the largest in the world to date. Governments and businesses worldwide are investing in wireless Machine-to-Machine (M2M) technologies for to improve efficiency and reduce costs through remote monitoring and control of assets such as: electricity grids, vehicles, vending machines, cameras and medical devices.”

According to Machina Research, the number of M2M connections in the utilities industry will grow from 100 million worldwide in 2010 to 1.5 billion in 2020, of which 99% will be smart meters. The rollout in Victoria is intended to modernise and optimise power grid infrastructure, allowing SP AusNet to capture details about energy usage in real-time.

“The exponential growth of the smart meter market worldwide presents exciting long-term opportunities for NetComm Wireless as we continue to achieve global recognition as a leading developer of 3G/4G M2M communications devices.” said Stewart.

The initial Victorian smart meter rollout was stopped three years ago after concerns that the benefits were all flowing to utilities, rather than customers.

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Graeme Philipson

Graeme Philipson is senior associate editor at iTWire and editor of sister publication CommsWire. He is also founder and Research Director of Connection Research, a market research and analysis firm specialising in the convergence of sustainable, digital and environmental technologies. He has been in the high tech industry for more than 30 years, most of that time as a market researcher, analyst and journalist. He was founding editor of MIS magazine, and is a former editor of Computerworld Australia. He was a research director for Gartner Asia Pacific and research manager for the Yankee Group Australia. He was a long time IT columnist in The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald, and is a recipient of the Kester Award for lifetime achievement in IT journalism.

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