Osaka, Japan – Panasonic Corporation announced today that it will start providing gas utility services in the autumn of 2021 in Europe, where the adoption of smart gas meters is growing, by leveraging its gas meter device technology refined in Japan.
With increasing global demand for natural gas, the market for smart gas meters is expected to grow significantly from the perspective of their benefits for reducing environmental impact through the stable supply and improved efficiency of energy. In Europe in particular, member states of the European Union have been promoting the deployment of smart gas meters based on European directives issued following the introduction of the "20-20-20 targets (triple 20)" in 2008.
Smart gas meters are required to concurrently have low power consumption performance and high reliability that enable them to run only on batteries for an extended period of time. Accordingly, in recent years, the adoption of power-saving-friendly communication networks has been accelerated mainly based on Narrow Band IoT (NB-IoT*) that uses base stations operated by communication carriers. Gas companies can expect benefits from improved business efficiency based on the use of smart meters and opportunities to provide new services through the effective use of measurement data. On the other hand, some issues have surfaced for running smart meter-based businesses, such as increased complexity and workload due to labor, including the handling of contracts with multiple communication carriers to cover every meter.
In order to address these issues, Panasonic will launch gas utility services as a one-stop solution that includes NB-IoT connectivity services, data monitoring and analyzing and utilizing of collected data, as well as devices for smart gas meters. The company plans to begin the introduction of these services in Italy in the autumn of 2021 and expand them throughout Europe.
The company has been contributing to the safety and security of the gas infrastructure by refining sensor technologies to detect earthquakes and gas leaks as well as safety technologies, including valve mechanisms to shut off gas, which can only be created by a manufacturer in an earthquake-prone country. Furthermore, the company was one of the first Japanese manufacturers to participate in demonstration experiments for introducing smart meters performed by local gas companies in France, Italy, etc. by making effective use of its gas meter device technologies refined in Japan. In addition, it has been expanding the gas meter device business tailored to the needs and trends of the European market, which started to adopt smart gas meters through efforts such as penetrating the gas meter device business in Italy in 2014.
In the years ahead, Panasonic will contribute to the reduction of greenhouse gases through the efficient use of energy resources by making efforts to evolve its gas meter devices with a focus on safety technologies as well as developing and providing unique services that effectively leverage its strengths.