Identify the critical differences between Smart Water Metering and Smart Water

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Water utilities are rapidly moving towards smart utilities by adopting new technologies. In this time of change, it is important to distinguish the fundamental differences between Smart Water Metering and Smart Water, to ensure the best business and financial results.

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 the water source (dam , boreholes, etc.) through to transmission, processing, distribution, consumption and
sewer and storm water systems.

The introduction of IIOT makes it possible to address a much wider range of monitoring, data collection and use cases than traditional SCADA, allowing for better understanding, greater optimization and better 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; collection of water meter data.

Once this data is collected, it opens up a treasure trove of opportunities to solve water problems. There are probably 50 to 100 times more SWM than SW devices in a utility, so individual unit cost and overall device life are key drivers for total cost of ownership (TCO) the lowest.

Making a Decision: Features vs. Total Cost of Ownership

SW solutions often rely on specialized sensing devices for a specific purpose and are limited in number, while from the SWM point of view there is a lot of talk about integrating new sensors and remote shut-off valves. in meters, as well as the need for flexibility. to modify the behavior of the radio terminals.

In SW, battery life is an important consideration, but devices are often fewer in number and inspected semi-frequently, providing opportunities for battery replacement. However, for SWM, apart from meter audits, the meter is untouched for 15-20 years.

Matching battery life and continuous communications availability to meter life is critical to minimizing total cost of ownership. Field service costs can quickly escalate if the technology is unproven, or an early battery life failure could necessitate a site visit sooner than expected.

Bringing IIOT into the SW space is a natural extension of existing operating technology capabilities, but moving to SWM introduces a range of new business transformation considerations, compared to traditional metering.

This includes new technologies such as meter data management systems (MDMS), field maintenance, device lifecycle management, and alignment with customer service operations. A smart water meter initiative is a significant investment, with a proven partner ensuring successful deployment of the solution and successful ongoing operation.

Over the past ten years, Toggle Systems’ end-to-end Smart Water Metering and Smart Water solutions have been successfully deployed in over 40 water utilities across Australia. This hands-on experience of technology, deployment, field operations, business integration and the Australian environment helps new utilities overcome common pitfalls.

Smart water metering at the most fundamental level should include:
• Reliable and consistent meter readings
• Battery life of 15 to 20 years
• Availability of the radio network
• Robust devices proven in Australian conditions

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