Can Utilihive integrate directly with Smart Meters or Smart Meter protocols such as DLMS/Cosem?

This is a question we get quite often. In general, communication to, and data retrieval from smart meters is handled by Headend Systems (HES) and is often delivered by the meter manufacturers. If such a Headend System is not performing well, or if a customer wants to utilize several meter types and brands, they sometimes look for alternative solutions. Since the Utilihive platform is designed for integration and big data processing, it is a valid question to ask in the context of meter communication.

Technically, it would not be a problem to implement common meter protocols such as DLMS/Cosem or others. However, there are two main reasons, why this part of the meter-to-cash process is better handled by a Headend System:

  1. Meter communication: Meter communications can be quite complex, depending on the chosen communication technology. (Secure) communication channels need to be managed, often in parallel sessions, taking into account the nature of the communication. Different technologies, such as PLC or radio, often require different approaches. Crucially, the network topology of the communication network also needs to be managed. Signal strength, communication routes and disturbances are factors that are typically well handled by HES. An integration platform (iPaaS) such as Utilihive is not built with those processes in mind.
  2. Device management: A HES typically controls the status of every aspect of the meter, such as breaker status, event log, battery status, memory, etc. This requires a structured data storage, tailor-made for that specific purpose. In addition, it needs the necessary management and control functionality on top. The management of metering devices also requires business rules to be handled by the Headend System. These aspects of device management need business management and data storage functionality which is best handled by a dedicated solution such as HES.

For those customers that want to serve multiple meter types and brands through one single system, there are several solutions on the market, (we call them "universal headend systems") such as the Cuculus Zonos Suite. Based on our experience, many meter vendors are able to support meters from other manufacturers with their Headend solutions. Examples include solutions from Itron and Iskraemeco.

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