Narrowband-IoT project with Vodafone

Diehl Metering

Diehl Metering has the Internet of Things transmitting underground.

  • Project with Vodafone: Narrowband-IoT for difficult-to-access water meters in shafts
  • Intelligent reading prevents complicated de-icing work and even road closures

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.

Diehl Metering has the Internet of Things transmitting underground

Vodafone Germany is the largest national subsidiary of the Vodafone Group, one of the largest telecommunication corporations in the world. The corporation has its own mobile communication network in 26 countries and maintains partner networks in a further 49 countries. It also runs its own landline infrastructure in 17 countries. Vodafone has around 523.5 million mobile phone customers and 18.5 million landline customers worldwide.

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Information on Diehl Metering

Diehl Metering is a corporate division of the Diehl Group, headquartered in Nuremberg. With a total annual turnover of 3.4 billion euros, the technology company employs around 16,300 people worldwide. The corporate division Metering supplies solutions for the intelligent use of water, thermal energy, gas and electricity. Diehl Metering provides smart metering solutions to utilities companies through the intelligent networking of various metering devices into larger data platforms. These solutions offer transparency for utilities and municipalities, and enable considerably increased efficiency in reading, billing and service processes. Diehl Metering's customers are also able to benefit from real-time effects such as early recognition of leaks and the optimisation of distribution networks through intelligent information regarding prompt adjustment of the offer to suit actual needs. With Diehl Metering you are already perfectly equipped for smart metering as an important component of smart city concepts. Thanks to more than 20 years of experience with the company's own radio technology, Diehl Metering has at its disposal excellent expertise in communications within the Internet of Things. And security of customer data has the highest priority.