With the year coming to an end, I wanted to take stock of what has been accomplished in our world of Smart Water Metering and IoT in 2017. There have been massive steps taken towards helping our customers, developing and improving the solutions available, and increasing smart water metering deployments.
I have the mission of achieving widespread sustainability and efficiency outcomes through smart water metering. With the long list of benefits of smart water metering, this is essential for the progress of smart cities, sustainability, and efficiencies within utility operations and other stakeholders. There are many challenges to overcome in order to accomplish this mission, and these require massive amounts of action. Throughout 2017 it has been incredible to see our actions towards and achievements towards this being recognised by our clients, partners, and wider industry. Some of these achievements are covered below.
ACOMM/IoTAA IoT Impact Award - It was an honour to have our hard work and achievements recognised with the accolade of the inaugural ACOMM Award for IoT Impact. The award was a joint initiative between ACOMM and Internet of Things Alliance Australia. This was a great chance for us to be seen among the major players in the telecommunications and IoT industries.
Australian IoT Awards - We also helped out client Australian National University gain recognition for our smart water metering project by successfully winning the Australian IoT Awards. This was a great way to share the success of our solutions with our client and promote the benefits of smart water metering for facilities.
Metering China 2017 - One of the most important highlights for me in 2017 was being invited to speak at Metering China 2017 in Wuxi just outside Shanghai. After preparing and delivering a well-received presentation, I met many leaders in the local smart water metering industry such as Mr. Dapeng Feng of HZ Metering. After meeting Dapeng and learning more about his organisation and how we align with one another, we have formed a strategic partnership to help bring new technologies to Australia such as the NB-IoT integrated digital water meter. It has been incredibly rewarding to work with Dapeng and his team at HZ Metering to share experiences and work together to grow and improve our smart water metering solutions for our customers.
Webinars – I have also been fortunate enough to be invited to participate in some interesting webinars to talk about smart water metering and IoT. Some of these include:
Engineers Australia - https://youtu.be/VIMwFblVOTs
Practical IoT for Water and Solar PV - http://envizi.com/the-property-sector-is-ripe-for-innovation-whats-next/
HZ Metering & WaterGroup - https://youtu.be/DJLb8izRklg
Low Power Wide Area Networks (LPWAN)
Well before 2017, I realised that Low Power Wide Area Networks (LPWAN) were one of the key technologies required to bring down the capital and operating costs of smart water metering to a point where products and solutions can fit the business requirements of utilities and other organisations to deploy in large volumes. This is achieved through super-efficient wireless communication designed to achieve long range, low cost, highly efficient delivery of small messages such as meter readings. These networks also enable utilities, councils, and other organisations to use standardised and multi-vendor solutions, removing the issue of vendor lock-in and improving interoperability.
This year we have reached significant milestones in bringing the major LPWAN technologies (see an overview of key LPWAN technologies here) into smart water metering solutions and delivering to the market. This year we have achieved:
Sigfox – The first smart water metering project was deployed with a utility outside of Europe and North America. This was undertaken with our client Coffs Harbour City Council and City Smart Solutions. We have since deployed Sigfox solutions with many other councils and organisations. Thank you to our partners INET Counters and Thinxtra for helping to make this possible. We have also rolled out more Sigfox with councils and private organisations across the country. Read more here.
LoRaWAN – We commenced a commercial deployment of a LoRaWAN smart water metering solution with a major Australian utility. This project is the first of its kind in Australia. We will be making public announcements about this in the new year.
NB-IoT – We have been working closely with HZ Metering to bring to market the first Australian standard, integrated digital water meter with ultrasonic flow sensing, NB-IoT communications, and all relevant certifications. This has drawn an incredible amount of attention from utilities and keen-eyed observers from other industries. We now have a number of high profile projects in the works and will be making announcements all throughout next year. Read more here.
We have also been working with major telcos such as Telstra, Vodafone, and Optus to ensure our solutions work seamlessly with their NB-IoT networks. We have successfully connected our meters to these NB-IoT networks, both in the labs and in the field.
Another key challenge we have been able to overcome repeatedly in adopting new technologies and bringing solutions to market quickly has been interoperability. With the support of our partner Reekoh and their ever-growing platform we have been able to quickly and reliably integrate various systems. For example we have been able to bring data from new Sigfox meters to our customer’s preferred visualisation platforms such as Envizi. Through the use of their extensive library of conversion and integration tools we have saved many months and significant expenses for our clients.
We are working with many organisations in the smart water metering and IoT ecosystems to align and build standards to improve interoperability. This will serve to further enable utilities and other organisations to adopt smart water metering and derive even greater value from their solutions by being able to manage and share data more efficiently.
Aside from the successful launches of LPWAN smart water metering solutions including Australia’s first integrated LPWAN digital water meter, we have managed to bring a number of other offerings from concept to real commercial deployment.
IoT Level Sensor – We developed a new solution for monitoring of water levels for a low unit cost, high volume deployment with a top tier Australian water utility. By utilising LPWAN communications, hardware from our partner INET Counters, and our new innovative level sensor design, we have successfully designed, delivered and deployed devices, all within less than 1 year. This is a testament to our team’s ability to move fast to deliver new IoT solutions as the market demands.
Leak Insurance™ – WaterGroup have released this new Smart Metering as a Service (SMaaS) offering made possible by bringing together the latest advances in smart metering technology and combining them with our 11 years of experience in delivering solutions with real tangible outcomes. The result is a value engineered, end-to-end solution, made available at the lowest possible investment. The system includes devices and installation to monitor water use, wireless communications to the Sigfox national network, software for data visualisation and management, full maintenance and support, and over the phone notifications from an expert consultant to inform clients of major issues such as leaks. This has now been adopted by many new and existing clients across Australia. Read more here.
This is not all we have achieved this year. We have also brought on-board a wide range of exciting new clients and helped them to save massive amounts of water and money. We have also proudly contributed to the missions of many of our partner NGOs such as IoTAA and WaterAid.
2017 has been a huge year and seen the growth of the foundation on which we will see even greater success in 2018 and beyond. Stay tuned!