WaterMeterCo establishes transparent communication channel between devices, utilities & consumers to save water
WaterMeterCo is a 25-year-old US-based manufacturer of AMR (Automated Metering Reader) Solutions in water meters. Its customers are electricity, oil and gas providing Utilities and other OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacturers). WaterMeterCo’s Utility customers cater to millions of families in the US. They need to provide transparent and accurate information on water consumption patterns. This leads to accurate billing information and keeps stakeholders aware of their usage. However, it could not provide this data due to a lack of sophisticated IT infrastructure which could collect, store and manage data from thousands of water meters. There were certain roadblocks which restricted on fulfilling its ultimate goal- to offer products and solutions beyond AMR. Here’s a snapshot of the roadblocks it suffered from-
Lack of two-way communication between devices, utilities and consumers
WaterMeterCo and similar OEMs lacked a system which could establish two-way communication between the devices i.e. water meters, utilities and end consumers. Due to this, there lacked a transparent billing system. An interaction between devices, utilities and consumers could ensure authenticity and trust in the entire network.
Lack of data on water flow rate and consumption analysis
The water meter data collected by WaterMeterCo had the power to influence water usage among consumers. This is based on the fact that when people are provided with accurate data, it makes them aware of their usage and results in ideal behavior. But the lack of a data management system robbed it of a splendid opportunity to conserve water.
Real-time information on water supply, leakages, theft and other anomalies could also help conserve billions of gallons of water every day. But the lack of data did not help save water.
The threat to Information Security
The absence of a sophisticated and robust IT Infrastructure took away an opportunity from WaterMeterCo and Utilities to budget and control their water usage. Since it could not collect water usage data, it could not divulge this data to the utilities and consumers which affected the district metering area i.e. controlled water supply and water loss data in specific areas.
Traditional System consisting of various types of devices
The water meter network consisted of sim enabled and radio frequency enabled devices. But they did not communicate behavior and condition information to WaterMeterCo. This affected the efficiency and communication between various devices. The traditional water meters could not upgrade themselves. Their battery life decreased significantly while providing any form of data.
Cloud-based Metering and Smart Analytics solution
WaterMeterCo required a robust, scalable and multitenant solution to collect, store and manage data generated by water meters. A smart water meter solution leveraging the power of Azure Cloud-based architecture was developed. This solution ensured data collection from 500,000 water meters. It could also handle data from 5x number of meters. This solution managed to form a two-way communication channel between the devices, utilities and consumers. Due to this two-way communication, the battery life of the water meters was not affected in any way. In fact, it improved by 50%. It also reduced the communication time to mere 200-300 milliseconds even when data frequency was increased to every 5 minutes instead of hourly data.
The strong analytical engine of this cloud-based solution provided real-time analysis on the water flow rate and consumption patterns. The Utilities and consumers were ensured with notifying of their zero, low or high consumption with the help of 22 different alerts. These alerts also included notification on anomalies such as water leakage, theft, consumption etc. This made the customers aware of their consumption. It made them budget their water usage and manage bill amounts accordingly.
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