IZAR: from pioneering radio technology to smart metering solution

Some 25 years ago, a revolutionary idea was born, helping unlock a whole new chapter in the history of metering.

Diehl Metering
IZAR: from pioneering radio technology to smart metering solution IZAR: from pioneering radio technology to smart metering solution

Some 25 years ago, a revolutionary idea was born, helping unlock a whole new chapter in the history of metering. That pioneering concept was to develop a unique technology to accurately read meters via radio. Over the next decades, the IZAR technology evolved to become a precursor to today’s Internet of Things. Today, it continues to be as relevant as ever, setting industry standards as a smart metering solution.

The story begins in 1995, when Diehl Metering (then known as Hydrometer) partnered with technology company Sappel to develop a prototype radio system for meters. The results were promising – and both companies immediately invested their energy and resources to launch the first compact version, the IZAR R1, in 1996.

The first incarnations of IZAR were designed exclusively for water meters and relied on manual readings. When Sappel was integrated into Hydrometer in 1998, which then became Diehl Metering, the development teams had a springboard to make an indelible mark on the metering industry through a series of powerful innovations.

Remote readings

The ensuing generations of IZAR R3, R3.5 and G4 enabled automatic readings and were more accurate, robust, and efficient. Ultrasonic meters such as HYDRUS (water) and SHARKY (thermal energy) also had IZAR integrated inside them, and the technology quickly became known for its exceptional performance. Unlike many other radio technologies, it is able to transmit data in particularly challenging environments and climatic conditions while ensuring cost-efficiency. Furthermore, it has a reliable battery life of 15 years.

Today, IZAR empowers customers to collect their meter data using mobile walk-by, drive-by and passive drive-by methods, as well as a stationary fixed network – or any combination of the four. Perhaps the biggest breakthrough is that IZAR is now adaptable to multiple types of energy (thermal, electrical, gas, etc.), which can be read using the same infrastructure.

From radio technology to smart solution

In the 24 years since it was first launched, IZAR has evolved from a breakthrough radio technology to become the cornerstone of Diehl Metering’s positioning as a provider of multi-utility smart metering solutions.

Through a combination of IZAR receivers, units, radio modules, ultrasonic meters and software, customers can unlock new opportunities for their business. The IZAR ecosystem no longer simply collects and transmits their meter readings; it analyses their data instantly and transforms it into key insights to improve water and energy management. This helps customers reduce their water and heat losses, improve billing accuracy, and optimise their business.

Future innovations

For almost a quarter of a century, IZAR has continually been a reference for the metering sector. By the end of 2019, some 52 million IZAR radio modules had been installed, alongside 8.3 million IZAR-equipped ultrasonic meters.

A key reason for its success is IZAR’s capacity to remain futureproof and easy to operate. Based on the Open Metering System communication standard, it offers optimal interoperability for any challenge. It has long been able to connect multiple devices, making it an early example of the Internet of Things. 

Today, megatrends such as climate change and water scarcity are shaping our world – and IZAR’s adaptability means it once again has a role to play. Through powerful data analysis, IZAR improves decision-making, enabling greater energy efficiency and helping us to make better use of the natural resources we all rely on.

Furthermore, Diehl Metering is looking to strengthen IZAR by integrating AI, opening up the potential of predictive maintenance and digital twin models. After garnering a number of awards for innovation during its lifetime, IZAR looks set to continue anticipating and adapting to new market needs, making it as relevant now as 24 years ago.