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Smart meter deployment slowed down in Q4 2011 – research

Despite global full-year shipments of smart meters reaching nearly 73 million last year, deployments were slower in the fourth quarter when overall smart meter shipments slipped nearly 8 percent from the preceding quarter, according to Pike Research.

This was due in part to some projects winding down and fewer new large projects coming to market, according to the clean technology market intelligence firm's latest report.

"There's a combination of good news and caution in these latest numbers," says senior analyst Neil Strother. "For the full year, shipments of smart meters were strong, and that's the good news for the industry. However, there is also a cloud in this picture as the volume of new deployment announcements was relatively weak, indicating that perhaps for the first time we've arrived at a market peak."

In 2011, shipments in China accounted for the vast majority of global activity, with 12.3 million out of the total 17.8 million in the fourth quarter of 2011. Yet according to the report, China's market remains ambiguous since it is unclear how these new meters are actually configured and used in two smart meter variants – automatic meter reading and advanced metering infrastructure systems.

The remaining 5.5 million shipments came from medium-sized and smaller utilities in the United States and the rest of the world – small volumes when compared to projects announced in previous quarters of 2011, when millions of endpoints were involved. – EcoSeed Staff

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