From AMI to AMx: A new approach to meter data

Timely, high-resolution consumption data is a foundational building block for addressing multiple utility challenges, from affordability and equity to decarbonization, resiliency, load flexibility, and the customer experience.

Energy and water utilities across North America have successfully deployed hundreds of millions of advanced meters—both drive-by (AMR) and smart meters (AMI)—over the past fifteen years, but the promised benefits of this equipment still haven’t been fully realized. To help fulfill its potential and wring significant new value from existing infrastructure, utilities should explore an AMx strategy, where “x” is a variable that encompasses nearly any type of meter, from yesterday’s drive-by meters to contemporary AMI and the advanced meters of the future. Learn more in this white paper!

What is AMx?

AMx is a strategic approach to collecting, managing, and using electric, gas, and water utility consumption data that unlocks new value from existing utility infrastructure.

AMx delivers the long-promised benefits of more granular and timely consumption data while layering on new value streams and minimizing system costs so that utilities can keep rates low and invest capital expenditure budgets in more critical areas such as system resiliency and decarbonization.

Fundamentally, AMx is focused on better leveraging converged infrastructure—such as existing broadband networks—to get even more out of current metering technologies and support a best-of-breed data ecosystem. This approach wasn’t possible when smart meters were first deployed, but technology interoperability has come a long way since then. Utilities no longer need to take a meter-first approach to data management.


AMx offers substantial and immediate benefits by enabling utilities to:

  • Ensure that precise and timely energy or water consumption data is available down to the distribution extremities (premise level, also known as the “last mile”) by increasing the quality of data collected from existing meters and the speed at which it’s shared with both the utility and its customers.
  • Reduce costs by avoiding premature meter replacements, identifying opportunities to leverage converged infrastructure, and finding new ways to make better use of the myriad existing data streams already being created.
  • Reduce cybersecurity risk by keeping meters focused on data collection, not communications or edge-computation, and shifting to more secure and cost-effective cloud-based data analysis and AI-powered insight generation.
  • Increase flexibility and spur new innovations by moving away from the proprietary communications networks of previous generations of AMI deployments to a more agnostic approach that allows mixed meter portfolios and lets utilities replace smaller groups of meters as they near end-of-life with whatever solution best fits current needs.

How Copper Labs enables AMx

Whether utilities have invested in AMR or AMI, granular data is already being continuously collected in the meter—it just may not be available to utility employees or their customers.

Copper makes high-quality, timely consumption data available immediately from existing meters through a wireless approach, and its software platforms enable utilities and customers to make the most of that data quickly and easily.

For utilities currently considering new full-scale advanced metering systems, Copper is a natural resource to realize next-generation AMx benefits by:

  • Allowing existing meters to provide more timely, granular data and provide sophisticated new functionality without costly and laborious hardware retrofits or replacements.
  • Enabling best-of-breed data ecosystems that offer interoperability with multiple meter manufacturers, communication networks, and solution providers.
  • Significantly extending the useful life of existing infrastructure.
  • Maximizing utility flexibility to meet a diverse array of emerging needs by taking a cloud-first approach to data management and analysis.
  • Delivering benefits at a lower cost and more quickly than the traditional full-scale AMI deployments of 2008 to 2023.

Copper creates unparalleled grid-edge visibility using a mix of existing metering equipment and newer advanced meters. It eliminates the data latency of AMR and AMI by using existing broadband networks for communication and supports centralized utility control of new grid-edge assets though existing ADMS systems. By combining broadband-enabled, cloud-based data management with powerful utility- and customer-facing software platforms, Copper is uniquely able to help utilities quickly realize the benefits of granular, timely consumption data. By making single-vendor monopolies on data collection and communications a thing of the past, Copper enables utilities to move towards a more varied mix of best-of-breed infrastructure solutions that are better suited to the specific challenges they face and allow for increased competition to drive down costs while making the most of vendor specialization.

At Copper Labs, we see AMx as a core strategic shift that will support the electric, gas, and water utilities of the future. We’re excited to be at the vanguard of an emerging ecosystem  of innovative utilities, vendors, and solution providers that enable it, and welcome all those who are interested in partnering to make it a lasting success. Come join us!

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