It’s fair to say that many water agency management personnel know about traditional and advanced metering infrastructure, but what they aren’t aware of are all their options in the latter. And in a time when so much infrastructure is reaching its design life expectancy and needing to be replaced, not knowing all your options could be a very costly mistake…not just now, but far into the future.
The Rise of IOT
In the past five years or so, technology has made amazing leaps forward, and that’s as true in our industry as any. The difference now is that these advances affect multiple disciplines, allowing them to work together. You’re in the business of managing potable water systems. There are other disciplines you may work with closely or maybe just occasionally, but you most certainly have municipal clients in your district whose need for technical information resembles your own.
Wouldn’t it be great if, as you are upgrading your current metering hardware and equipment with new installations or retrofits, you could create a communications foundation upon which all those colleagues and clients could build their own networks, as well?
That possibility is no longer a dream, it’s reality. With the advent of the Internet of Things (IOT), new devices are being invented every day that can take advantage of agency-wide digital communications infrastructure to deliver data of all kinds, for just about any imaginable application. Users can employ IOT technology to
- create new data streams
- distribute information
- manage maintenance
- reduce energy usage
- measure water quality and system health
- detect leaks
- track inventory and equipment
- track rolling stock
- enhance customer experiences
- and so much more!
In the industrial sector where we operate, there are IOT solutions that can keep equipment secure and connected, allowing for local or remote monitoring of systems. Sensors can help monitor water flows in pipelines, while artificial intelligence, machine learning and predictive analytics can help reduce costs of sending live crews to distant locations by knowing when that attention is needed or not. All of this can increase productivity, efficiency and effectiveness.
The system you should be aware of right now is the Subeca System™. Not only is it built on an amazingly efficient and cost-effective LoRaWAN communications platform, but that platform is open, freeing you from being handcuffed to any one provider for your advanced water metering equipment.
The Subeca Pin is our version of the advanced water meter register. Retrofitting it to existing meter bodies in minutes, or as part of a complete change-out, the PIN is able to operate independently or as part of an IOT network. In a network, it nearcasts its data signal to local Subeca Links via BLE5, the component that collects data together from other Pins and sends them off the free local network onto the third-party network that will bring it home to your operations center or to mobile devices. The advantage there is that the signal only rideßs on a paid network when absolutely necessary, minimizing operations costs.
The best part is that once you establish this network by installing our equipment, you will have created an open communications network on which your municipal clients can send data from other components related to water or not. Simply by installing our system, you will have created your own non-proprietary network that allows you and your colleagues and clients to expand their data transmission as needed, when needed, without being tied to one brand or another of equipment.
In short, you will be empowered to make the best decisions for your district not just now, but far into the future. You will make your service area future-ready for any new IOT developments that are coming, capturing continual ROI on your AMI investment for the life of the asset and beyond.
New Unrestricted Revenue
Because the LoRa network our system establishes is open, you have full control over it and no limitations on how you use it, other than FCC compliance. Cities your agency serves can bring in Smart City devices, such as parking, lighting or irrigation controls. Now that your agency has come online with us, it stands to be able to generate a dependable unrestricted revenue stream by renting or selling bandwidth on the network to them for this purpose. It could work very much like renting tower space for a cellular antenna.
Not only could that provide an unrestricted revenue stream, it would allow districts and agencies to adapt quickly to changing circumstances in weather or other kinds of events, just because agencies of all types could be communicating in real time with each other across the open LoRa network.