• Global Military Communications

Utilities to boost cybersecurity spending in support of advanced metering infrastructure

The move toward Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) is becoming the quintessential driver for connected electricity meters, which are expected to reach an installed base of 1.3 billion by 2027. This growth is prompting utilities and energy suppliers to revisit their digital security agendas and device management operations, according to a new report by global technology intelligence firm ABI Research.


Digitization of traditional electricity grids and the modernization of the aging energy infrastructure is among the top concerns for operators and governments worldwide. Security for last-mile energy consumption applications was frequently overlooked. “However, the introduction of AMI, smart metering, and grid digitization is steadily increasing spending for secure management services, assisting implementers to transition to IT (information technologies) and OT (operational technologies) security services and help tackle their primary objectives,” explains Dimitrios Pavlakis, Senior IoT Cybersecurity Analyst at ABI Research. These key objectives include streamlining consumer and commercial electricity usage, satisfying the need for increased industrial output, tackling the demand for real-time energy optimization services, assisting with the introduction of renewable sources and decentralized energy and, in the grander picture, increasing the security threshold for their countries’ critical infrastructure.


“The name of the game is oversight, efficiency, and security when it comes to smart metering,” Pavlakis says. “The responsibilities for utilities and energy suppliers have increased significantly and they are treading into new potentially unfamiliar grounds. Utilities are attempting to align with governmental regulations, enable new supply chain interactions with manufacturers to make sure device OEMs satisfy hardware and software security requirements for smart meters, coordinate on digital identity issuance and secure firmware installation, ascertain cost-efficiency for capital expenditures for long-term security investments, and continue to serve their end-customers while streamlining transition to AMI services.”


The introduction of governmental regulations regarding deployment, management, and oversight in AMI is perhaps one the most important predictors in IoT security services for electricity meters, forcing utilities operators to revisit their strategies. Identity issuance, device management, firmware over-the-air (FOTA), security intelligence, and traffic monitoring are among the top priorities for them. “Additionally, the focus on regional grid management and the introduction of thousands or millions of smart meters prompts utilities to invest in their on-premises headend servers through Hardware Secure Modules (HSMs) and security management platforms to mitigate some of the long-term cost,” Pavlakis concludes.


Key players in the market include established smart metering and smart grid players like Landys+Gyr (aided by their security arm Rhebo), HSM specialists like Utimaco, leading players for digital infrastructure, eSIMs and HSMs like Thales, IoT communication module and connectivity providers like Sierra Wireless and PKI, Certificate Authorities like Device Authority and Globalsign, and smart grid cybersecurity and risk management service providers like OTORIO.

These findings are from ABI Research’s IoT Security Services in Electricity Utilities application analysis report. This report is part of the company’s IoT Cybersecurity research service, which includes research, data, and ABI Insights. Based on extensive primary interviews, Application Analysis reports present in-depth analysis on key market trends and factors for a specific application, which could focus on an individual market or geography.

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