Conserving Utility Resources With LoRaWAN® IoT Solutions
22 June 2021 / by Marc Pégulu
Traditional utility operations are labor intensive and utilize subjective measurement by field personnel. Meters are often located in dense urban environments, indoors or even underground, and can be challenging—if not impossible—to reach by wireless technologies. By implementing a smart utilities infrastructure comprised of sensors and gateways utilizing the LoRaWAN® standard including streaming analytics and artificial intelligence (AI), utility and metering companies can collect real-time data , analyze it and act on insights from data no matter where it’s generated – enabling more efficient use of resources and personnel for streamlined operations.
Smarter monitoring and forecasting leads to energy savings, which is critical in today’s ecological climate. Resources are diminishing and utility providers can help address this issue via more effective monitoring, forecasting and real-time measurement of utility data.
By 2026, nearly 20% of smart meters deployed by energy and water utilities worldwide will be connected using noncellular low power wide area (LPWA) networks. With limited visibility into energy assets, networks have struggled to forecast and control their grids and have often had to impose constraints or make costly capital investments in the absence of data. Now, improvements in grid operation and advanced technologies such as streaming analytics and AI, are helping to overcome these challenges. Implementing smart energy optimization and gas safety systems within cities by leveraging LoRaWAN network connectivity and advanced analytics can help maximize grid efficiency and better predict and mitigate risk, keeping citizens safe.
With the rise of low-power wide-area networking (LPWAN) technologies, such as those operating on the LoRaWAN standard, new “smarter” metering solutions are proving to be a compelling alternative to other connectivity options for both Internet of Things (IoT) networks and smart grid applications. With several hundred known use cases (and growing), Semtech’s LoRa technology is the de facto wireless platform of IoT.
Earlier this year, Semtech announced its collaboration with SAS, the leader in massively parallel analytics and AI, to incorporate LoRaWAN standard connectivity into SAS’s IoT analytics platform to help solve real world problems and improve quality of life for people and communities around the globe. A key focus use case is the optimization of energy grid operations, among many others.
Saving Water with LoRaWAN and Advanced Analytics
By implementing a smart metering infrastructure comprised of sensors and gateways with the LoRaWAN standard, utility companies can efficiently collect data and analyze it in real time so they can streamline operations to manage and reduce costs. Customers, including large municipal utility providers, leverage these solutions to cut down on water waste and quickly identify issues in a water distribution network. This can lead to significant water savings.
Birdz, a subsidiary of Nova Veolia and a global leader in optimized resource management, implemented LoRaWAN solutions that allow customers to manage their utilities more efficiently. Customers, including large municipal utility providers, leverage these solutions to cut down on non-revenue water and quickly identify issues in their water distribution network. One such example is the city of Lyon, France, where Birdz operates over 400,000 end devices. Since deployment, over 1,200 leaks have been identified and around one million cubic meters of water is saved annually. Additionally, Lyon has seen an 8% increase in water network efficiency from 77% in 2015, to 85.2% in 2019.
Smart Gas Meters
In a gas utility application, meters must function for long periods of time and transmit data regularly. A combination of smart metering technology with sensors for smart valves, gas pressure and gas leak detectors on the same network enable gas utilities to enhance safety and improve overall efficiency. Semtech's LoRa devices and the LoRaWAN standard combined with SAS’s IoT analytics enable cost-effective and energy efficient solutions for gas utilities.
CavagnaGroup®, a leading provider of smart solutions and products for controlling and managing compressed gasses, has developed a range of innovative smart meters based on LoRa devices and the LoRaWAN standard. The smart meters work by embedding LoRa devices in order to connect the meters to cloud platforms. Utility providers can view and analyze meter data using CavagnaGroup’s platform or a third-party application. This has enabled utilities to offer innovative billing models that provide utility customer benefits and also ensures real time, accurate monitoring of gas usage levels. Data provided via these billing models allows customers to make energy saving changes to usage habits.
Electricity Monitoring and IoT
With the rise of LPWAN technologies, new smart electricity metering solutions are proving to be a compelling alternative to other connectivity options for both IoT networks and smart grid applications. Smarter monitoring leads to cost and resource savings.
Lar.Tech, an operator in the market of data transmission services in the IoT industry, offers a module compatible with electricity meters that remotely collects data in large urban areas. Lar.Tech created an automatic meter reading (AMR) solution for the electricity grid market using meters integrating LoRa®. Following a successful pilot in 2017, Lar.Tech rolled out 50,000 units, with a goal of deploying 1 million smart electricity meters by the end of 2023.
Further explore how LoRa® facilitates utility conservation and smart utility systems on our website.
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