The Industrial Internet of Things FEATURE NEWS

Scalable Energy Tank Metering Drives December IoT Deal

By Cynthia S. Artin December 11, 2017

In one of the most interesting IoT twists this year, Senet today announced they have sold their seven year old EnerTrac fuel tank monitoring and delivery business to WESROC in a transaction that includes an exclusive contract for LoRaWAN connectivity services powering a solution that will be rolled out next year.

WESROC, which is a division of Indpendent Technologies, plans to expand their portfolio of productivity solutions for the propane and heating oil tank monitoring markets to benefit from the more attractive economics associated with LoRaWAN versus cellular connectivity, which has been the company’s primary means of networking.

As part of the agreement, Senet will provide critical network connectivity and build out services to WESROC, on an exclusive basis,  as the company expands its portfolio to include LoRaWAN monitors and low cost, long range LoRaWAN connectivity.

“We’ve been running the EnerTrac business since 2009, in various iterations, and evolved it to LoRaWAN, proving out the technology and the business case,” said Senet CEO Bruce Chatterley. “We’ve gained significant knowledge from building the EnerTrac solution from the ground up and have leveraged those learnings to assist in the development of other highly scalable, secure and and cost effective IoT connectivity platforms and applications.”

Chatterley went on to say that it is often the “massively scalable mundane” applications that stand to benefit most from IoT, explaining that with a more cost efficient solution, WESROC can now instrument a greater number of tanks, including those in consumer homes, at an affordable price that addresses both consumer’s anxiety about running out of fuel, while also creating supply chain productivity gains as truck rolls can be better orchestrated.

“Fuel companies prefer a high fill rate, for all the obvious reasons,” Chatterley said, “and when WESROC can enable more and more tanks at lower and lower price points, they bring very valuable technology to their customers, the fuel companies looking to provide great customer service while also reducing operational costs.”

While WESROC serves mostly the North American market, Chatterly also sees global opportunities for expotential growth of the service outside the US.

With the acquisition of EnerTrac, WESROC will be able to optimize delivery efficiency by using affordable monitors to capture customer fuel tank levels throughout the day. The data is transmitted over the Senet network directly to the customer’s back-office software, including desktop management consoles and mobile applications making delivery professionals more efficient.

In addition to saving on fuel delivery costs, WESROC’s customers will also be able to more accurately forecast fuel usage, and reduce the carbon footprint of their delivery fleet.

“Remote tank monitoring has evolved from just monitoring the very hard to predict tanks, which are a small fraction of most tanks, to now knowing what is in every tank at any time.  Lower cost equipment and network services help make this a reality for our customers,” says Hank Smith, CEO & President of Independent Technologies.

WESROC has an impressive 1,500 plus customers today, but currently monitor only a fraction of the tanks those customers own and operate. Chatterley said the new economics for connectivity with LoRaWAN will expand opportunities within the embedded base, which now will also include EnerTrac’s customers.

“This is all about growth economics,” Chatterley said, a trend he predicts will power many more similar deals, and drive increasing uptake of LoRaWAN services, even beyond the steady growth the industry has seen in 2017. “Businesses cases like this hit a whole new level as you are extracting data that improves the customer experience and the provider’s bottom line.”  

“The acquisition of EnerTrac further establishes Independent Technologies as the industry leader in tank monitoring systems,” said Smith. “This is a significant addition to our product line which allows us to fit nearly any need or budget. We look forward to working with Senet to expand deployments of the EnerTrac solution and to meet the growing demand for automated tank monitoring solutions in North America and  around the world.”

We’ll continue to follow the progress as these two companies expand the market together, with increasingly less expensive sensors and networks, that deliver “silicon economics” to the IoT – while also keeping our eyes open to similar transactions in the new year, from the fast-moving LoRaWAN space. 

Edited by Ken Briodagh
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Contributing Writer

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