Should smart meters ship with additional memory and processing power, plus an operating system to run applications? Several meter and communications vendors have taken a step down that road, including Echelon and SmartSynch. Now a UK firm called Sentec wants to take things to the next level. If it succeeds, next-generation meters will look less like old-fashioned meters with a communications module grafted on. And more like smart phones for energy (with apps and all).

I use the Discovery Showcase series to highlight new companies and new ideas. I bumped into this latest concept at Metering Europe in Amsterdam this October. If the concept takes off it could insulate utilities against the obsolescence issue – the fear that smart meters will need to be swapped out in just a few years. And it could send meter makers scrambling back to their labs to catch up. Keep reading →