Wireless technology company Radio-Tech had a requirement for an automated meter reading (AMR) system which allowed meter-data to be collected while an operative drove at a normal residential speed along a predetermined route.
The placement would be underground, needed sufficient wireless penetration to enable two-way data transmission and would be hard to replace once fitted. There was a desired battery life target of 10 years.
LeoTel Software Systems worked as a software and systems partner with Radio-Tech, in order to develop an automated meter reading system that maximised the efficiency and life of the wireless metering devices, provided route calculation and real-time progress reporting for meter-reading operatives, and central analysis of the captured data.
LeoTel delivered the data acquisition, route planning and analysis software for the system, SQL database and operatives’ user interface. Validation was performed with Radio-Tech engineers at their lab facilities, and during system commissioning, in order to ensure a smooth handover and transition of the system to the end client’s engineering team.
LeoTel advised on the bespoke wireless communications protocol for the proprietary FM transmission hardware, and the sampling intervals algorithm, based on the transmission rate of the meter, power of the transmitters, sensitivity of the receivers and the speed of the operative, which was anticipated to be 30mph, to ensure the optimal configuration for sending a burst transmission of data to a receiving device when it came into range.
Mathematical modelling and simulation were used to develop a power-efficient scheme for utilising metering device on-board components in order to ensure battery life targets were met. When a wireless-enabled data acquisition device came into range (when a water meter operative was driving past in his van), a data transfer would take place, with software managing the connections and data transfer back to a central server which processed the meter readings.
The new system provided instant cost and efficiency savings to the end client:
Significant benefits were derived from analysis of the acquired data (e.g. reading spikes):
“I have found it a pleasure to work with LeoTel, and have trusted them to deliver technical excellence, working closely with our hardware experts, to address the challenges of developing and delivering a variety of complex data acquisition products and systems. They have not let me down, and when it has been necessary, have gone that little bit further to ensure the end customer is delighted with the solution.”— Inder Panesar, Technology Director – Mesh-net / Radio-Tech