The improvement of interoperability, ‘smart cities’ initiatives, and blockchain technologies entering smart water metering were the predictions of 2018. Now, in 2019, the continual ground-swell of interest in the Internet of Things (IoT) has brought many new opportunities for smart water metering.
This year’s predictions will have a particular focus on Australia and the Asia-Pacific region, however the concepts and implications do apply to smart water metering globally.
Here is a glimpse into one of the 2019 predictions for smart water metering – Telcos to Disrupt Proprietary Communications
Historically smart water metering systems have relied on proprietary wireless technologies to deliver data from the field to where it’s needed. While these proprietary technologies have fulfilled their primary purpose of delivering metering data, there are many shortcomings and challenges associated with using them over longer periods of time and across wider applications.
The rise of IoT is creating a demand for an increasing number of internet-connected sensors and devices across practically all industries. Major telecommunication providers are fully aware of this and are actively working to dominate this rapidly growing market. They are doing this by rapidly rolling out their own globally standardised low-power wide-area networks (LPWANs) and building enormous ecosystems of partners and compatible devices.
In Australia there are more than 20,000 cellular base stations with Telstra owning the largest share at around 8,000. The majority of these base stations can or already have been enabled to provide narrowband IoT and support smart water meters. This effectively makes them the largest LPWANs in the country by a wide margin. The largest proprietary water metering communications providers have only deployed a few hundred base stations, almost always at a cost to the user to buy, install, maintain, and operate.