Booming demand for Smart Meters in APAC, but what about reliability & security?
In a previous article we’ve already explored how the smart metering market looks like within the European Union, especially in Switzerland, so today we will focus our attention on the APAC (Asian-Pacific) region, where there seems to be an increasing demand for such devices.
The smart metering market size in APAC
In 2017, Global Marketing Insights valued the market size of Asia Pacific Smart Water Metering at over USD 85 million and estimated that the annual installation rate will exceed 6 million units by 2024. A year later, in 2018, this number grew significantly. Professionals estimated that the smart metering market’s value in the APAC region will reach $300 million by 2024.
However, the most recent insights show that over 572 million smart electricity meters will be installed in APAC in 2021-25, out of which the Chinese market is expected to account for 70–80% of the smart electricity meter demand across Asia. This breathtaking growth overshadows all previous estimates and clearly demonstrates the booming demand for these smart devices in the region.
Concerning smart device security standards, there is not much development going on in the region, though we can already analyze some possibilities based on the ones that are already available and widely used in the EU.
Two major smart metering security standards that APAC should consider to take on
Nations and grand organizations sometimes fall into the trap of reinventing the wheel, while there is already a proven solution within arm’s reach. As smart metering devices gain popularity in APAC at a sweeping pace, governments and manufacturers will need to be on the lookout for security measures that prove the reliability of their devices, while making sure about the security of consumer data.
Luckily, they don’t have to go so far as to find solutions that have already been implemented in other parts of the world and justified their necessity over the years.
The two major smart meter security assessment and certification processes are, the Swiss “Die Prüfmethodologie” by SWISSMIG, and the Common Criteria Protection Profile for
Smart Meter minimum requirements issued by CEN/CENELEC/ETSI Coordination. Both methodologies focus on the reliability, functionality, and security evaluation of smart meters. However, these evaluation frameworks are not only providing the basis for certification of smart devices in question but are also a professional guideline for official assessing laboratories, like CCLab, check for errors or flaws and make recommendations about the product, to the vendor or manufacturer, to further develop the device.
As a result, the accredited information security laboratory not only serves as an outsider organization for obtaining the necessary documents but acts as an advisor during the development process. Thanks to the professional guidance of evaluators, manufacturers can make sure their products measure up to the claims made about their security. These organizations look for security gaps, test security from various angles, and recommend further security solutions and fixes. After the necessary number of iterations between the laboratory and the developer, If all standards are met, the device gets certified by the given Certification Body, such as METAS in Switzerland, and/or OCSI, BSI, etc. in case of Common Criteria.
As far as we see, having such evaluation and testing procedures in the APAC is necessary if demand keeps increasing at this rate. With the use of these security frameworks, vendors and manufacturers are able to minimize product fault-rate, ensure data security, and maximize customer trust in the provided goods and services.
Apart from putting in place a regional security standard and complying with its measures, it is important to draw the attention of consumers and vendors to only use and trade certified products and services, as they went through a thorough evaluation process conducted by experts, like CCLAB. Solely these evaluations and certifications can serve as valid, and official proof about the reliability and IT security of the device, which should matter to consumers and vendors alike.
Secondly, it is advised for vendors and providers conducting business in the APAC region to push forward the importance of IT security and proper compliance with the use of evaluation frameworks, such as the “Die Prüfmethodologie” and the Common Criteria based Protection Profile for Smart Meter minimum requirements in the EU in order to provide the same level of quality to their clients across continents.