Water utilities are quickly evolving into smart utilities by embracing new technology. In this time of change, it’s important to distinguish the fundamental differences between Smart Water Metering and Smart Water, to ensure the best business and financial outcomes are achieved.
Smart Water (SW) includes Industrial Internet of Things (IIOT) and Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA), representing a complete end-to-end water system from water source (dam, bores etc.) through to transmission, treatment, distribution, consumption, and
sewer and stormwater systems.
The introduction of IIOT enables a far broader range of monitoring, data gathering and use cases to be addressed than traditional SCADA, enabling improved insight, greater optimisation and risk management. Smart Water Metering (SWM) is a subset of Smart Water, focusing on residential, commercial and network meters. SWM devices all perform the same simple function; collecting water meter data.
Once this data is collected, it opens a treasure trove of opportunity to solve water problems. There are likely to be 50 to 100 times more SWM than SW devices in a utility, and so individual unit cost and overall device life are key drivers for lowest total cost of ownership (TCO).
Making a decision: features vs total cost of ownership
SW solutions often rely on specialised sensing devices for a specific purpose and are limited in number, whilst from the SWM point of view, there’s a lot of discussion of new sensors and remote shut off valves being integrated into meters, along with the need for flexibility to change radio endpoint behaviours.
In SW battery life is an important consideration, but devices are often fewer in number and inspected semi-frequently, which provides opportunities for battery replacement. However for SWM, aside from meter audits, the meter isn’t touched for 15-20 years.
Matching battery life and ongoing communications availability to meter life is essential to minimise the TCO. The field service costs can quickly escalate if the technology is not proven, or early battery life failure could require a site visit earlier than expected.
The introduction of IIOT in the SW space is a natural extension to the existing operating technology capabilities, but moving to SWM introduces a range of new business transformation considerations, compared to traditional metering.
This includes new technologies like Meter Data Management Systems (MDMS), field servicing, device lifecycle management and alignment with customer service operations. A smart water meter initiative is a significant investment, with a proven partner ensuring a successful deployment of the solution and ongoing operation success.
Over the past ten years, Taggle Systems end-to-end Smart Water Metering and Smart Water solutions have been successfully deployed to over 40 water utilities across Australia. This hands-on experience in technology, deployment, field operations, business integration and the Australian environment, allows new utilities to overcome common pitfalls.
Smart water metering at the most fundamental level, needs to include:
• Reliable and consistent meter readings
• Battery life of 15-20 years
• Radio network availability
• Devices built tough and proven in Australian conditions
This sponsored editorial is brought to you by Taggle Systems. For more information, visit www.taggle.com