A case study on why IoT water metering makes sense, even in remote NZ

Arthur D. Riley & Co Ltd (ADR) is one of New Zealand’s most experienced fieldsmart technology companies for the Utility industry. This is the story about the challenges and benefits of one of their first IoT projects.

New Zealand is generally not short of water, so not the first place you would think of for monitoring water consumption. However some areas of the Country experience water scarcity, especially in the hot summer months. This is the case for Duvauchelle, a small town of mainly holiday homes situated at the head of Akaroa Harbour on Banks Peninsula, an area service by the Christchurch City Council (CCC).

As a beach-side holiday town the population of Duvauchelle triples in the summer months, and so does the water consumption. To the point where water is brought in by truck to cover the essential needs of the inhabitants, at a very high cost to the CCC.

Clearly the town was under “water stress”. With the advent of IoT and the SIGFOX New Zealand National Network there was technology available with near real-time metering of the water consumption, enabling the CCC to better understand demand and potential water leaks. ADR was appointed to help with designing and implementing this smart technology.

The objectives were very clear: previously water meters in the settlement were read once every two years. The CCC now wanted six reads per day to better identify potential over-consumption patterns, high users and leaks. Overall, they wanted to get greater visibility of water usage as well as share the data with wider stakeholders (community and water utilities).

A few challenges presented themselves with project. The area is quite remote with limited cellular coverage, so the use of IoT technology required the installation of a wireless network base station in the right location to cover for the hilly terrain. Also, the water meters were below ground level  and had to be secured under heavy duty plastic or metal lids (reducing radio reception quality of wireless sensors). To add to the difficult, the project had to be completed in difficult weather conditions.

water meter installation sigfoxWorking in conjunction with ADR, Thinxtra installed a solar powered Sigfox base station on an ideal high point in Duvauchelle. ADR then retrofitted 266 water meters in town with IoT pulse dataloggers, and started monitoring consumption data from each water meter via ADR’s bespoke water management platform.

Within a few weeks, ADR were getting some interesting insights, which needed to be checked live. For example, sites with hidden connection to the main pipes, householders diverting pipes before the meter, people removing their dataloggers, trucks passing by and refilling from CCC water tanks, overflowing water tanks, and the usual 10% leakages.

From the beginning of the project, based on the difference between sourced water and the captured water from the meters, 60% of the water was missing. By going through each individual meter consumption insights and determining the real issues on site, and at the same time fixing them over a three month period, they were able to reduce the unaccounted water figure to 30%. This 30% unaccounted water loss will reduce further as more leakage issues on the network are identified and fixed.

Bruce Franks from A.D.Riley commented: “From now on, not only are the users properly allocated their consumption, but Duvauchelle doesn’t require as much water to be brought in by truck during summer, a previously highly inefficient and costly exercise for this small, remote place. From this early experience in dealing with IoT smart metering, ADR and the CCC have gained a lot of insights on consumer water consumption in Duvauchelle, such as previously unknown major leaks, unaccounted for home and commercial excess water usage – gains that could be easily replicated to larger scale projects in an even shorter period. “ Additionally – “This project also enabled ADR to develop PowerBI dashboard for analytics which has been instrumental in solving leakage and loss identification”


About A.D.Riley & Co Ltd (ADR) – making utilities smarter since 1909

ADR’s founder, Arthur D Riley, was an engineer renowned for his entrepreneurial spirit, something the company continues to embody as providers of fieldsmart technology. ADR are always there for our customers, with technology and expertise that keeps operations running in the field. From high voltage power distribution, water revenue metering and system control, to data acquisition and parking management systems, ADR offers a proven, fieldsmart solution backed with technical expertise.

More info at http://adriley.co.nz
Contact: Bruce Franks (Marketing and Development) bfranks@adriley.co.nz


About Thinxtra New Zealand

Thinxtra is empowering the Internet of Things by commercialising and operating the first nationwide LPWA network in New Zealand (based on Sigfox connectivity technology) as well as enabling and promoting a full eco-system of partners that provide IoT solutions and services to increase productivity, accelerate decision making, improve quality of service and quality of life, and find more economical solutions to common problems.
Thinxtra is leading this IoT revolution, by connecting the un-connected, for a more sustainable future.

Contact: Shaun McBride (NZ BDM) shaun.mcbride@thinxtra.com

 

Sigfox opens radio specifications for connected objects

To celebrate the 8th World Radio Day, under the patronage of UNESCO, Sigfox, the world’s leading IoT service provider and first global 0G network operator, has publicly released the specifications of its radio protocol for connected objects.

Impact of Open Radio Specifications

By putting the specification in the public domain, everyone can now create their own Sigfox object. The release of these specifications will allow open source implementations, and more opportunities for developers and manufacturers of connected objects. As soon as all the tests are done, the manufacturer will only have to register its object on the Sigfox network to benefit from it.

Sigfox expects a boom in the number of objects connected to its network as new players in the IoT space take advantage of this opportunity, with global full support from Sigfox. The Sigfox ecosystem will expand further, as they democratise the technology beyond device makers.

The Sigfox standard

This move will apply to connected objects, rather than Sigfox’s base stations and infrastructure, as those are protected by patents. Until now, the specification of objects was shared under NDA upon request, while Sigfox wanted to control the number of objects applying to connect to its network.

The opening of the specification has always been part of Sigfox’s ambition and we’re excited for the thousands of new use cases that will emerge. Our partners all over the world are looking forward to being part of this development” says Christophe Fourtet, co-founder of Sigfox. (View the whole interview on youtube)

In the IoT market more generally, this opening is a so-called “classic” step in the establishment of a standard, like Bluetooth for example. This means that tomorrow Sigfox’s 0G network, in addition to the B2B markets already addressed to date, will also become a reference on local or more consumer-oriented use cases.

With more than 30 years of expertise in radiocommunication, particularly in defined by software and cognitive ones, Christophe Fourtet, invites the academic community and the research community to seize this opportunity, for the next generation of engineers to participate in the coming evolutions of the protocol.

To access the specification : build.sigfox.com/sigfox-device-radio-specifications

By opening its radio specifications to the public, Sigfox strengthens its position as the global provider of 0G connectivity


About Sigfox
Sigfox is the initiator of the 0G network and the world’s leading IoT (Internet of Things) service provider. Its global network allows billions of devices to connect to the Internet, in a straightforward way, while consuming as little energy as possible. Sigfox’s unique approach to device-to-cloud communications addresses the three greatest barriers to global IoT adoption: cost, energy consumption and global scalability.

Today, the network is available in 60 countries, with 1 billion people covered. Surrounded by a large ecosystem of partners and IoT key players, Sigfox empowers companies to move their business model towards more digital services, in key areas such as Asset Tracking and Supply Chain. Founded in 2010 by Ludovic Le Moan and Christophe Fourtet, the company is headquartered in France, and also has offices in Madrid, Munich, Boston, Dallas, San Jose, Dubai, Singapore, Sao Paulo and Tokyo.


About Thinxtra
Thinxtra is empowering the Internet of Things in Australia, New Zealand and Hong Kong by operating the world-leading Sigfox LPWA network as well as enabling a full eco-system of IoT solutions and services partners to connect the non-connected, to increase productivity, to accelerate decision making, to improve quality of service and quality of life, and to find more economical solutions to common problems with the ultimate aim to create more efficiencies in a carbon constrained world.

PR Contact: Renald Gallis – VP Marketing +61 404 894 960 renald.gallis@thinxtra.com