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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

 

Coffs Harbour’s Moving Forward with Smart City Solutions

Coffs Harbour is better known for the Big Banana monument than its smart city solutions. But as one of the most technologically advanced councils in Australia, this image could change.

Coffs Harbour City Council, via their City Smart Solutions business unit, has taken bold steps to improve the way they collect information about their council’s assets by developing Internet of Things solutions.

The first two IoT solutions implemented are about public toilets remote monitoring and water metering for multi-storey buildings. Both projects involve wireless sensors connecting via the Sigfox nationwide network (operated in Australia by Thinxtra). By providing a low power wide area network (LPWAN), devices and sensors can reliably and securely transmit data over long distances, at extremely low cost. The data is then received on the council’s own IoT platform.

The first solution: Monitoring public toilets with Internet of Things is perhaps not the most glamorous project, but it makes a lot of sense as it substantially reduces costs of maintenance. With the new solution in place, including a Sigfox modbus device attached to a local control system (installed in the storage room of the toilets), the council is now able to automatically open and close doors, control and monitor inside and outside lights, record frequency and time of usage, turn off water after hours and receive alarms in case of leakage, receive daily water meter reads, and best of all, know when cleaners are coming and leaving the site.

The second solution: Metering the water usage of each resident in a multi-storey building allows the council not only to obtain daily reads automatically, detect leaks precisely or over-consumption of specific residents,  but also to provide alarms when a power failure is detected and even better, an intruder is entering the control room. Such a solution, until now, would have been cost-prohibitive to install in buildings and was therefore not implemented.

“Our past processes for collecting water data, have been complicated and restricted. With this new solution we look forward to seeing some fast and meaningful data to reduce water leaks and collateral damages as well as to provide accurate reading of customers’ water consumption and billing. It is also worth mentioning that I have been very impressed with the RSSI and sensitivity of the Sigfox devices and cells out in the field with current data I have: Some Sigfox sister cells receive messages down at -140dbm. (Theoretical  seems to be max -148dbm from estimate link budgets). Remember cells phone go deaf about approx -102dbm and SCADA radios approx -112dbm and our best comms being digital two ways dies about -117dbm”, said Andrew Sales, Technical Manager – City Smart Solutions.

Both solutions have been designed by City Smart Solutions, the technical arm of Coffs Harbour, led by Andrew Sales. He now wants to share those smart solutions, that have worked for his council, to the wider community. The business unit specialising in smart solutions that increase efficiency and boost productivity, safety and reliability has accumulated 60 years of experience in supporting their council and servicing a broad range of clientele across regional New South Wales and Southern Queensland.

Thinxtra also mentioned that Coffs Harbour was the first council to take advantage of their Smart Council Partnership Program, a program designed to provide Sigfox network coverage within 4 weeks at no cost to the council. “Having Sigfox coverage lays the foundation for councils to become better maintained, safer, more sustainable and innovative. By bringing high impact Internet of Things solutions to life such as those solutions implemented by City Smart Solutions, the councils can reduce their costs and better service their community” says Thinxtra CEO, Loic Barancourt.


About City Smart Solutions
As a business unit of Coffs Harbour City Council, City Smart Solutions have been trialing and testing on a diverse range of business sectors delivering outstanding proven results.  Servicing a broad range of clientele across regional New South Wales and Southern Queensland, City Smart Solutions has 60 years experience and expertise to effectively integrate technologies within local businesses and communities.

City Smart Solutions develops and implements technologies to manage security, cloud-based services and wastewater management.  With a strong commitment to sustainable development and leveraging their deep understanding of customers needs, they can tailor smart solutions that increase efficiency and boost productivity, safety and reliability.

For further media inquiries or interviews, contact:
Andrew Sales, Andrew.Sales@chcc.nsw.gov.au
To learn more about City Smart Solution, visit www.citysmartsolutions.com.au


About Thinxtra
Thinxtra was founded by IoT and network experts who share a common passion for connecting things to improve business processes and people lives. Thinxtra is empowering the Internet of Things in Asia Pacific by deploying the world-leading Sigfox LPWA network as well as building a full eco-system of IoT solutions and services to enable the non-connected to connect.

Thinxtra is backed by NZX-listed high-tech company Rakon Ltd, which has a history of innovation in communications technology going back some 50 years as well as the CEFC (Clean Energy Finance Corporation), an Australian Government fund with a mission to accelerate local transformation towards a more competitive economy in a carbon constrained world.

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

Mandurah (WA) is Sigfox Ready to Detect Water Leaks

The City of Mandurah, a Liveable Community award winner and one of the most advanced regional city in Western Australia, is now fully covered with Sigfox LPWAN network, installed, monitored and managed by Thinxtra Australia at no cost to the city.

Among the first IoT projects implemented by the City of Mandurah, to maintain that status of liveable city, is better monitoring water consumption and detecting water leaks by visualising water flow rates in water meters located at Council facilities.

The solution includes Sigfox ready dataloggers retrofitted via reed switch to the water meters, the data is sent via Sigfox IoT network to the WaterGroup data analytics platform (Envisi) to visualise the data with the ability to alert staff if water leaks are detected or if deviations in normal water consumption occur.

The potential benefits are obvious: improve water use in the City’s facilities, reduce water usage cost and nearly remove time consuming water meter inspections.

Sean Hutton, City of Mandurah, commented “In this case it means we can react to water leaks and abnormal water consumption as soon as it happens, instead of having to wait for the next utilities bill to discover an issue. This project aligns perfectly with our Waterwise council program in improving water use efficiency within council facilities and the community, and also has a direct benefit to council in reducing water usage costs.”  

Guenter Hauber-Davidson, CEO of Watergroup, the provider of the solution, also added “It’s always great to work with a client ‘who gets it’. Mandurah is one of those instances where a Council has clearly seen how WaterGroup’s Sigfox based smart water metering solution creates real value for them. By fully embracing the system and from initial results received so far, the City expects the system will be paid back in the first year. For those who do not have these types of house resources available on a consistent basis, there is the WaterGroup AWARE Service. Here the company actively monitors a client’s water use and chases up abnormal use or leaks.”

Such project was made possible in a very short time thanks to the support of Thinxtra who covered the city with the Sigfox wireless network within few weeks via its Smart Council Program. “By enabling councils to trial new solutions risk free, they can experiment with new services and gain real- life experience and understanding of IoT. Clearly, the Smart Council Program brings numerous benefits. There is no catch: At worst, councils will learn about IoT opportunities. At best, councils will create efficiencies and benefits for their citizens.” said Regis Berdaa, BDM Smart Councils at Thinxtra


As a Council, how do you join?
Contact us via smartcouncil@thinxtra.com
Request a meeting with our smart-council team to tailor our approach to your IoT strategy
Get access to our Kick off 2018 offers and select free IoT trials.
Go to thinxtra.com/smart-council for further information and download presentation.


About The City of Mandurah
The City of Mandurah is Western Australia’s largest regional city and 10th largest local government by population covering an area of 173.5km. It is home to more than 84,000 people with an average increase of 1500 new residents each year over the past five years. Between 2016 and 2036, the population for the City of Mandurah is forecast to increase by 36,778 persons (44.26% growth), at an average annual change of 1.85%.

The City of Mandurah is a 2011 International Awards for Liveable Communities (LivCom) dual award winner. The LivCom Awards, initiated in 1997 and endorsed by the United Nations Environment Program, is the only international competition judged on international best practice for managing the environment while improving residents’ quality of life by creating ‘liveable communities’. Participation in the Awards is an investment in the future of a community.


About Thinxtra
Thinxtra is empowering the Internet of Things in Asia Pacific by deploying the world-leading Sigfox LPWA network as well as building a full eco-system of IoT solutions and services to enable the non-connected to connect, to increase productivity, accelerate decision making, improve quality of service and quality of life, and find more economical solutions to common problems.

Sigfox is the world’s leading provider of connectivity for the Internet of Things (IoT). The company has built a global network to connect billions of devices to the Internet while consuming as little energy as possible, as simply 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.

Thinxtra is backed by the CEFC (Clean Energy Finance Corporation), an Australian Government fund with a mission to accelerate local transformation towards a more competitive economy.

Thinxtra is a member of the Australian Smart Communities Associationasca

To take advantage of early deployment in your council, review your interest at library.web.thinxtra.com/smartcouncil and contact us at smartcouncil@thinxtra.com.

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

WaterGroup Joins Forces with Thinxtra

Five-year partnership to deliver major water savings to large enterprises and councils across Australia and New Zealand.

WaterGroup, one of the leading players in the smart water meter market in Australia, has today announced it has signed a five-year partnership with Thinxtra that will enable large water users to detect water leaks and thereby avoid wasting millions of litres of water while realising thousands of dollars in water savings each month.

The announcement of the partnership comes after WaterGroup spent 24 months researching and developing multiple LPWAN (Low Power Wide Area Network) wireless technologies that will work best with smart water devices. Through LPWAN connectivity, devices and sensors such as smart water meters can reliably and securely transmit data over long distances, at previously unachievable low cost points.

“Sigfox technology became an obvious choice for use as a part of our smart water metering solution,” says Guenter Hauber-Davidson, Managing Director of WaterGroup.

“In the past, the cost of connectivity was a constraint but now, with this simple-to-use, large-scale and low-cost network, not only councils but also any large water users can start monitoring their water within weeks at low cost.”

By joining forces with Thinxtra, WaterGroup’s best-of-breed smart metering systems and solutions will be able to capture and send data on water use via the Sigfox wireless network.

“Councils and businesses will benefit greatly from this, because our smart meter systems deliver not only automated meter readings but also valuable additional information on water use that helps our clients save water and money. In particular, undetected leaks wasting millions of litres of water, will become a thing of the past,” says Guenter Hauber-Davidson.

“Our smart water meter systems are so innovative they can detect leaks almost as soon as they occur. For example, one of our customers, Fairfield Council, is saving $4,500 a month as a result of early leak detection. Another customer, Australian National University (ANU), saved over $300,000 within six weeks of our smart meter system being installed.”

“Our smart water meter systems and solutions also help overcome one of the major challenges facing large users of water which is the shock they get when they realise that their quarterly water bill has gone up enormously due to a costly leak or large unauthorised use,” he adds.

Thinxtra CEO, Loic Barancourt said that WaterGroup had been chosen as a partner because it is one of the leading providers of systems and solutions to the smart water meter market in Australia with an excellent reputation of  delivering tangible business outcomes to its enterprise and utility customers.

“By joining forces with WaterGroup we will be combining their smarts in water meters with the benefits of Sigfox, the leading wireless technology for low cost and low power IoT applications to meet demand from councils”

Thinxtra is moving quickly to ensure the Sigfox network covers 95% of Australian population by the end of the year.  The network currently covers 71%.

Mr. Barancourt added: “Thinxtra is becoming the low power wide area network of choice in Australasia for the Internet of Things. Thinxtra makes it simple and economical for objects to connect, thanks to the nationwide Sigfox networks we have already deployed and are operating. 

By deploying complementary Sigfox network coverage on demand, we are paving the way for any councils or businesses to embrace IoT technology and deploy solutions such as WaterGroup’s smart water meter systems to reduce their costs.” he adds.

Side note:

Out of 4 companies nominated for the Accomm – IOTAA impact award, both Watergroup & Thinxtra are finalists. Winner will be announced on 19/7. This again shows that the two companies are well aligned and recognised by the IoT community in Australia.


About WaterGroup

WaterGroup is one of the largest integrated corporate water savings companies in Australia, a widely recognised leader in smart metering (gas and water), leak detection, waterloss and efficiency management and capture and reuse.

By leveraging the Internet of Things (IoT), innovation and sustainable solutions, WaterGroup’s services and products help water suppliers, municipalities, hospitals, universities, large corporates, shopping centres and other large water users save water and money.

With a specialist pool of expertise, proven design models and innovative engineering solutions, WaterGroup creates and delivers the best possible outcomes for its clients.

For further media inquiries or interviews, contacts:
Guenter Hauber-Davidson, WaterGroup Managing Director on 0422 44 99 00. ghd@watergroup.com.au
To learn more about WaterGroup’s innovative new smart metering technology visit www.watergroup.com.au


About Thinxtra

Thinxtra is empowering the Internet of Things (IoT) in Asia Pacific by deploying Sigfox technology, the world-leading provider of connectivity for the IoT, as well as building a full eco-system of partners providing IoT solutions and services to enable the non-connected to connect, to increase productivity, accelerate decision making, improve quality of service and quality of life, and find more economical solutions to common problems.

Sigfox is a global network designed to connect billions of devices to the Internet while consuming as little energy as possible, as simply as possible. Sigfox’ unique approach to device-to-cloud communications addresses the three greatest barriers to global IoT adoption: cost, energy consumption, and global scalability.

Thinxtra was founded by IoT and network experts who share a common passion for connecting things. It is backed by NZX-listed high-tech company Rakon Limited, which has a history of innovation in communications technology going back some 50 years.

For more information, contact:
Renald Gallis – VP Marketing and Ecosystem
renald.gallis@thinxtra.com +61 404 894 960

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