Telecoms, Datacoms, Wireless, IoT


Local metering solution boasts innovative wireless features

25 July 2007 Telecoms, Datacoms, Wireless, IoT

Energy Electronic Technology SA (Enertech), a Johannesburg-based company specialising in metering solutions, has developed the ‘Enertech Solution’ – a wireless premises utilities management system.

Although it primarily caters for the metering and management of electricity, water and other utilities, it features a range of value added services to the premises owner, including remote control of electronic devices by GSM/GPRS SMS command, demand-side management and tamper management. It also offers unprecedented community messaging and advertising to each household and premises in an area.

According to the company, the Enertech Solution is essentially a wireless hub for all consumers of utility services. Wireless meters are installed on the water, electricity and gas utilities, and the data from these meters are collected by the hub and can be sent via the hub's GSM/GPRS gateway to the local municipality, or any other organisation, for billing and management purposes, as well as being used by the premises owner to manage expenditure on each utility.

The GSM/GPRS communication functionality of the hub can be used for a range of other service, such as sending SMS notification of power outages and other incidents monitored by the meters, to the owner or any municipal body. It features an emergency call button to a designated security company and a colour display, like that on a cellphone, which can be used for community SMS alerts and adverts.

Based on Wavecom wireless CPU technology from Trinity Telecomms, the Enertech Solution meets three requirements, namely intelligent metering, utilities management and GSM/GPRS communication.

Intelligent metering consists of wireless metering of all utilities, including electricity, water and gas. The electricity meter has the ability to measure both kilowatt hours for single-phase and three-phase installations, as well as maximum demand usage required for three-phase installations. The unit enables time-of-use demand-side management, and independent management, allowing the disconnection of various items such as geysers, swimming pool pumps and under-floor heating at peak times, either by the owner or the utilities company. These items can all be switched on and off remotely via GPRS or SMS commands. The utilities companies can also remotely configure the units for items such as the amperage rating, new software version downloads, new tariff structures, disconnection on tampers and switching to prepaid mode for non-payment.

The utilities management features include the handling of prepaid and post-paid metering on the same metering infrastructure. It is STS compliant for electricity tokens and all other prepaid services. The owner can operate a 'bank account' on the hub for each utility service, so as to trigger SMS alerts when certain levels of usage are attained, and to provide graphical consumption and cost reports and statistics. Funds can be reallocated in realtime between various utility services. The night flow feature on water enables early detection of leaks, saving on overall consumption.

At the end of the month, or on demand, the unit sends consumption data to the municipal utilities company for billing and consumption monitoring purposes via the GSM network, through the tailored software interface. It offers exception reports and reports on tamper incidents, power failures, phase drops, voltage variations and night flow, etc, for improved utilities management.

The GSM/GPRS communication facilitates the communication of billing and consumption information to the owner and utilities companies as mentioned above, but also facilitates a range of additional communication features. It enables the communication of alerts and advertising from the utilities, so that notification of expected power or water outages can be communicated to all households in an area before they happen.

The unit features an emergency call button, which can mobilise both local neighbourhood watch authorities as well as a designated private security company in the case of an emergency. The hub also facilitates fixed mobile (GSM) communications with up to five phone extensions in the premises to the consumer on one cell number.

On a community level, the unit offers unprecedented communications opportunities. Community organisations can send community SMSs to each household or premises in an area to alert households to community events such as meetings and special events. The graphical display allows full colour adverts to be sent to each household as well, enabling local stores to advertise directly to their market in realtime.

The hub offers wireless Internet connectivity for PCs in the premises via a Bluetooth link to the GSM/GPRS hub. Future features will include a link from the premises security camera to the hub, enabling the remote viewing of the camera picture on a cellphone.

Security has been a high priority in the development of the Enertech Solution. Tamper prevention and detection mechanisms have been built into the unit's functionality, including trigger switches, battery backup, additional line or bypass connection detection and magnetic interference detection.

For more information contact Enertech SA, +27 (0)11 447 3352.





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