Increasing digitalization is leading to a turning point in the energy industry. Public utilities, water and energy suppliers are facing greater challenges. Not only rising energy prices, scarcity of resources and growing environmental awareness on the part of consumers are driving a transformation, but the legal framework is also changing to more sustainability and transparency. Smart solutions are needed in many areas that make processes more efficient and ensure greater economic efficiency.

The Internet of Things (IoT) offers a number of advantages in the field of consumption meters. Intelligent measuring devices, so-called smart meters, collect various data via sensor and transmit them encrypted by radio at predefined intervals to a central location. Common application scenarios for smart metering are mainly to be found in the field of electricity, gas, water or district heating consumption meters. However, smart metering is conceivable for all consumption measurement points. What are the 4 reasons for switching from analogue meters to intelligent measuring systems?

Reduced time and personnel costs due to smart remote monitoring

The analog recording of consumption data from, for example, electricity, gas, or water meters requires a lot of time and personnel. Employees must process all places where a manual meter is used – and in most cases this is quite a few.

If the time required to read meters in buildings is comparatively low, the situation is different for devices installed underground. Water and sewage shafts are sometimes very angled, wet, and hardly accessible. One employee is usually not enough to collect the data from shaft water meters. This means that they are rarely called up and entire systems can only be monitored under difficult conditions. In addition, if the end customer postpones reading dates in advance or is simply not present at the agreed date, the administrative burden increases as new dates have to be arranged.

Smart meters that can communicate intelligently via the mobile network, the wireless standard wireless M-Bus or other LPWAN (Low Power Wide Area Network) such as LoRaWAN, mioty and Sigfox reduce the workload many times over. After the initial installation, the data is automatically read out and transmitted in encrypted form. Employees who rope into deep shafts to read manual meters in sometimes daring maneuvers are a thing of the past with smart metering. In addition, incorrect measurements through analogue reading of the meters are prevented.

Efficient planning through constant monitoring

Where comprehensive process monitoring with manual meters is unthinkable, Smart Metering sets new standards. Constant monitoring offers a great advantage in planning demand and preventing failures. For example, power or water providers can reliably predict and counteract unexpected peak consumption to avoid bottlenecks. Due to the switch to renewable energies and the resulting fluctuations in the amount of electricity fed into the grid, monitoring is a welcome tool, especially for electricity providers, to be able to meet demand in a targeted manner.

The water industry is also increasingly relying on smart technologies to ensure a comprehensive supply of high-quality drinking water. In addition to water consumption, intelligent sensors also record water pressure, temperature, or system performance, for example, so that the collected data can be used to make longer-term forecasts and provide planning reliability. 

Maintenance and troubleshooting without major time losses due to continuous data

Large plants can be optimally monitored with software support. This makes it easier and more efficient to maintain a widely branched distribution network made up of kilometers of lines. Thanks to the continuously transmitted data of the smart meters, employees always have an overview of the processes and can easily control work steps by clicking on the PC or touching on the smartphone. Whether shielded in damp concrete shafts underground or in low-lying cellars: Wireless-based and maintenance-free IoT solutions reduce maintenance costs many times over.

Instead of reading meters every year, smart metering offers the advantage that it is not only possible to determine consumption values. Depending on the hardware used, e. g. with ultrasonic sensors, the flow rate of liquids can also be determined. These measurement data enable companies to react early to external influences, such as a leak in a pipe or a pipe break. Areas with fluid loss can be identified quickly, damage can be localized, and remedial action can be taken in a timely manner.

Saving resources through intelligent technologies

As cities continue to grow and more people share their habitat, pollution levels are increasing and resources such as land, energy and water are becoming scarcer. New solutions are needed that can be used to respond specifically to fluctuating demand in order to ensure long-term supply. Smart metering solves this problem by automatically reading and transferring different data: Peaks in consumption and other challenges can be forecasted and controlled by optimized processes.

Similarly, the conservation of resources by new devices alone is taken into account. Mechanical water meters, for example, have a higher start-up flow, which even increases over time. In general, more water is consumed than measured and paid for. An ultrasonic meter, on the other hand, retains its high accuracy over its entire service life and transmits the exact consumption data constantly by radio. Smart technologies in wastewater disposal support cleaning performance through optimized workflows and intelligent networking, for example, and thus ensure a reduction in water pollution.

As you can see, smart metering offers a number of advantages for companies that work with metering devices. Are you interested in smart solutions for your company? Please contact us! Together, we will find a way to integrate digital technologies into your infrastructure.

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