Smart Grid

July 09, 2013

SmartReach's Long-Range Radio Solution Connects Hard-to-Reach Water Meters

SmartReach, a U.K.-based collaboration of Arqiva, BT (News - Alert), BAE Systems Detica and Sensus for smart metering communications, has successfully implemented a long-range radio communications solution for nearly 1,000 smart water meters in Kinver, South Staffordshire. The trial has been performed in partnership with South Staffs Water.

SmartReach’s collaborators are promoting the solution for Britain’s smart meter and smart grid program, which is aimed at providing all homes and small premises with smart meters by 2020. The SmartReach solution is an end-to-end data communications network, designed to provide a dedicated, secure, resilient and universal route to supporting the government’s smart grid program.

With many of these meters being located in underground chambers and under metal lids, the trial project did create a challenge for most communications technologies. But with its expertise in communicating with meters in hard to reach locations, SmartReach along with South Staffs Water ultimately accomplished this apparently impossible task. The present success builds on the company’s several other fruitful trials for energy and water smart meters across the world. The SmartReach technology has also been widely deployed in the US. The latest trial is the testimony to the technology’s ability to connect to smart meters irrespective of their locations.

Smart water meters are designed to provide visibility of the water usage of the individual households. By providing reliable data on the usage pattern on a continuous basis, the smart water meters help detect unusual consumption patterns instantly and help address the causes.

Such smart meter data can also support improved management and reduction of leaks across the water network, thereby helping optimize future network investments.

“We selected the long-range radio communications solution from SmartReach because it is proven to connect to smart meters in the demanding British environment, even in locations where other communications technologies tend to suffer from patchy or unreliable coverage. The SmartReach solution also offers long-term flexibility, with the potential to cover water networks as well as the metering of homes,” Colin Wayper, network director of South Staffs Water, commented in a statement.

“Smart water and energy metering has the potential to deliver billions of pounds worth of energy, water and operational efficiency savings for utilities and their customers. Achieving these benefits depends on proven, reliable smart metering communications technology. We’ve already demonstrated that our long-range radio solution connects to over 99 percent of energy and water smart meters with a single installation visit. We are looking forward to building on this success by delivering a highly reliable service for South Staffs Water and its customers,” added Sean Weir Program, director of SmartReach.

Early this year, Sensus reportedly delivered 100-percent connectivity to smart water meters located underground as part of a long range radio technology trial in Ballincollig, Co. Cork, Ireland.

Edited by Alisen Downey