Düsseldorf / Nuremberg, 1 September 2017 - Every day, around 45 million approved and calibrated water meters measure the amount of water that is flowing through the pipes of Germany's apartments and houses. Recording this consumer data is sometimes very difficult, for example in apartment buildings, in cellars or shafts. In winter the shaft covers can often only be opened after special de-icing work has been carried out. This is why Vodafone and Diehl Metering are now testing a digital solution that should make this type of work easier. It is based upon Narrowband-IoT, which is Vodafone's machine network. The partners are now using this technology in Nuremberg to test the routine reading of difficult-to-access water meters. Consumption data is automatically transmitted from HYDRUS ultrasonic meters in shafts to headquarters via the machine network. Here the data is visualised and further processed by special Diehl Metering software. The automatic reading of the consumption meters is quick and easy.
Thanks to this technology, customers no longer need to be available for fixed reading appointments, and utilities companies benefit from the elimination of complicated, time-intensive work, because manual reading in shafts ties up resources. Going into meter shafts always requires two employees. If a shaft is flooded it will need to be pumped out before the meter can be read. This can mean road closures, which then leads to traffic jams, particularly during the rush hour.
The machine network even transmits in places where mobile transmission would be extremely difficult
The meters from technology specialists Diehl Metering are being fitted with special Narrowband-IoT modules. These transmit the current meter readings to the utilities company at regular intervals. Thanks to Narrowband-IoT, data can be transmitted from places where mobile radio transmission would be difficult, for example behind thick walls or underground. The machine network is an optimised LTE variant with which billions of objects can be simultaneously connected. Extremely long meter battery lifespans of up to ten years allow reading without additional electricity supply in the Narrowband-IoT too.
"Narrowband-IoT is the network we use especially for machines. It is perfect for automatically reading water meters or other meters that are deep down in cellars or even underground", says Dr Eric Kuisch, Chief Technology Officer at Vodafone. "Diehl Metering has been addressing the topic of automatic meter reading for many years. We find it very interesting to validate the latest communication technologies such as Narrowband-IoT with regard to their capability for meter reading in the field", reports Hermann Trottler, project manager for field testing at Diehl Metering. Vodafone opened an IoT lab in Düsseldorf back in February. This is where the telecommunications company works with partners along the entire value chain on smart solutions that can communicate in the machine network.
Information on Vodafone
Vodafone Deutschland is one of the leading integrated telecommunication companies and also the biggest television supplier in the republic. Its 14,000 employees help the company supply internet, mobile communications, landlines and television from one source. Vodafone - a "gigabit" company - is pioneering the expansion of Germany's infrastructure: with increasingly fast networks, the Düsseldorf company is leading Germany's advance into the gigabit society, whether with its landlines or with mobile communications. Vodafone offers business customers a large ICT portfolio: the company connects people and machines, ensures business networks and communications, and stores in the German cloud data for businesses. Around 90% of all DAX companies and 15 of 16 federal states have chosen Vodafone. Vodafone Deutschland generates an annual turnover of 11 billion euros thanks to 45.2 million mobile phone cards, 6.4 million landline/broadband customers and numerous digital solutions.