ESMIG promotes Smart Meter interoperability across Europe, by Willem Strabbing

The European Smart Metering Industry Group (ESMIG) has produced research on European Smart Meter pilot schemes, which shows that consumers can significantly reduce in the amount of energy they use by applying Smart Meters. Furthermore, beneficial changes in the times of day that people use energy can also be achieved, such as smoothing out peaks and troughs in power demand, thus lowering the spare capacity that must be reserved at the supply side. ESMIG expects to see positive behavioural changes by consumers who make use of Smart Metering technologies to become permanent, ultimately securing the significant and long-lasting effects necessary to achieve the European Union’s ambitious energy efficiency improvement targets by 2020.

One of the main pre-requisites for a smooth roll-out of Smart Meters is the interoperability of such meters. Complying with open standards is a basic condition, but in itself not sufficient to achieve the degree of interoperability required, since many established standards leave room for further configuration. Therefore ESMIG is defining the additional measures needed, such as the selection of technologies, definition of optional features and specifying the process of data exchange between Smart Metering components (Use Cases).

ESMIG supports the roll-out of Smart Meters across the continent by also promoting the improvement of the interoperability of the Advanced Metering Infrastructure components (connecting Smart Meters with various devices, systems and communication networks). This approach will ensure that:

  • Different systems work effectively together throughout Europe;
  • The Smart Meter market is fair and open; and
  • Consumers experience a smooth switchover to Smart Meters.

ESMIG's members are the leading companies in Europe’s Smart Metering market, including manufacturers, IT companies and communication product and service providers. ESMIG has adopted a set of open standards with which members’ products must comply. These standards will allow the competitive development of applications from various sources, creating business models for industry stakeholders, and ultimately benefiting both consumers and utility companies.

To achieve interoperability, the organisations responsible for implementing Smart Meters need to do more than just adhere to EU communications standards. Such standards are intended to apply to diverse architectures used across Europe and can often contain a wide range of functions and options that are not necessarily always used.

ESMIG’s approach is that all forthcoming Smart Meter devices, their constituent parts, the interfaces and associated networks will talk to each other in a seamless and sophisticated way, which may be likened to person-to-person communication. This approach goes beyond the requirements of basic standards.

All Europeans from private residents to standards regulators, and from systems developers to European lawmakers are invited to consider ESMIG’s multi-layered Smart Meter interoperability approach as a range of Machine-To-Machine communication conditions, which together enable effective intersystem exchanges. These can be compared with the conditions needed for effective interpersonal communication:

  1. Medium (speaking to somebody across a room, by phone or by exchanging emails)
  2. Characters (a mutually understood alphabet – such as the widely used Latin set of letters)
  3. Language (English, French, etc.)
  4. Style (level of language used to get a message across depending on the audience one wishes to reach)

Only with universal agreement on these aspects (in technical terms they are called Communication Layers) is effective communication possible. The same conditions apply to Machine-To-Machine communication. In analogy with Human-To-Human communication, the physical medium, character set, data formats (models) and the functional behaviour (Use Cases) have to be defined, which is what ESMIG is working towards.

Although at the European level ESMIG works on the basic elements of such layers, the various member states or end-user organisations have to make their final selections or definitions for these layers due to the differences in market organisation and architectures. Therefore, ESMIG is also active in some member states to help with identifying the requirements for an effective and interoperable infrastructure.


  1. The basis of the ESMIG approach is the adherence to open standards: ESMIG members’ products will comply with these standards.
  2. ESMIG supports international standardisation on various layers and to a level needed to achieve true interoperability.
  3. ESMIG's approach is a holistic approach covering all aspects of communication.
  4. ESMIG’s approach to interoperability supports both the international and national processes.


Notes for editors:


The European Smart Metering Industry Group (ESMIG) is the European industry association that provides knowledge and expertise on Smart Metering and related communications at a European level. ESMIG's members are the leading companies in the European Smart Metering Market: meter manufacturers, IT companies, communications product and service providers and system integrators. ESMIG covers all aspects of Smart Metering, including electricity, gas, water and heat measurement. Member companies cover the entire value chain from meter manufacturing, software, installation and consulting to communications and system integration. By giving support to European Union Institutions, Member States and Standardisation Organisations, the industry group aims to assist in the development of national and European-wide introduction, roll-out and management of Smart Metering solutions.

ESMIG is an Official Associate of the Sustainable Energy Europe Campaign:  

For further information contact:

ESMIG Secretariat

Phone: +32 2 7068257, Fax: +32 2 7068250


European Smart Metering Industry Group

Boulevard A. Reyers 80, 1030 Brussels, Belgium