Thanks for the info on Ambient. I just checked them out. They are a micro-cap stock that trades an average of less than 10k shares/day. I try to avoid investments that are not liquid. Even ITRI at ~450k shares/day is a rsiky investment. If a market order is placed for a significant number of shares, the stock price can drop rapidly (which happened earlier this week.)
In my opinion, Ambient will not become the 800 pound gorilla by supplying comm nodes. Whether Ambient or Echelon, the companies that are being pitched against Itron are companies which provide bits of the system. Itron provides the whole system (including the enterprise software) and the years of expertise and knowledge associated with the specific utilities (water, gas, electric.) Utility companies are not system companies. They cannot design and implement the systems themselves. They rely upon system partners to design, develop, and install the systems. Itron is one of those system partners, as are ABB, Elster, etc. This is not saying that Echelon and Ambient cannot generate revenue in the utility markets. It is to say that those companies are a fraction of Itron (or any other system provider.)
So, just out of curiosity, what products do Echelon and Ambient provide to the water and gas utilities? Now ask the same about Itron....that is an 800 pound gorilla.
Not sure about Ambient but here is what Echelon is doing on the gas/water side.
"As part of this deployment, the NES System will also be used to communicate to approximately 25,000 gas meters via a Meter-Bus (M-Bus) interface, a European standard for connecting various consumption meters such as heat, water, and gas meters. Using the newest members of Echelon's second generation NES electricity meter family, which can act as an "M-Bus master" for up to four attached M-Bus devices, these gas meters will be able to report alarms and be read over the NES network on a fixed schedule or on demand, and the usage can be profiled over time. For grid operators, like Nuon, that serve both gas and electricity customers, the ability to read the gas meters over the same infrastructure being deployed for the electricity meters can bring significant cost savings and service improvements."
rightofway: I believe what they are saying is that the network is capable of communicating with the gas meters; however the communication units in the gas meters are not Echelon. There is no power available near water or gas meters so there is no opportunity to place PLC in a water or gas meter application. In the application referenced, it appears that the gas meter AMR unit utilizes the Lonworks protocol so it can communicate with NES, but it does not utilize PLC
The radio for gas and water meter applications must be extremely low power because it must survive on battery power for years. It is also wireless because there are simply no wires at the water or gas meter. As far as I know, Echelon has no low power wireless technology. As such, they cannot generate much hardware revenue from water or gas meter sales. At best, they might be able to sell a processor chip into the AMR unit but my guess is that the power consumption of their chip is too high for these applications.
Itron actually sells both the meter and the AMR units.