Are Smart Metering and Water Infrastructure Monitoring the same thing?
A question we often get asked is whether Water Infrastructure Monitoring and Smart Water Metering are the same. While the straight-forward answer is ‘no’, there are definitely interesting links and interrelationships between the two. TaKaDu believes that the world of water metering is set to undergo a revolution rather than an evolutionary growth, and Water Infrastructure Monitoring is one of the key enablers of this revolution.
To date, the biggest issue with metering was that whatever got metered became ‘smarter’, and the rest remains largely a ‘blind spot’. Data collected outside the scope of ‘smart metering’ (e.g. acoustic sensors, remotely controlled valves etc.) does not get used for generating a holistic picture. To a large extent, the water distribution industry relies on meters for ‘metering’ and on acoustic or hydraulic models for detection, control, management or planning.
TaKaDu is at the forefront of the attempt to collect all data available at a utility, regardless of its source and original purpose, and use advanced mathematical and statistical algorithms to correlate all data and create a holistic view of the ‘expected network behavior’. This, in turn, yields the ability to alert in real-time on any anomaly, and (using advanced classification techniques) declare it to be a leak, a burst, a faulty pump, a faulty meter, a transmission problem, water loss through theft, a quality issue etc.
Unlike any ‘detection’ approach currently employed by the current generation of metering players, TaKaDu’s approach does not rely on fixed-bound thresholds or hard-coded rules, rather considers all aspects of the change from norm (weather, holidays, maintenance activities currently taking place etc.) without requiring previous knowledge of their existence.
Our clients – water utilities across Europe, Australia and Asia – have been successdfully using our platform, which is delivered as SaaS (Software-as-a-Service, nothing to physically deploy and no new sensors or meters to add) and identifying events in the network regardless of how ‘smart’ their meters are. In a way, we make the network smarter without requiring the overhaul of deploying smart meters into the network. In addition, common false-positives associated with the high noise and error levels of sensing gear, are completely prevented owing to the highly intelligent AI decision-making engine encapsulated in TaKaDu’s service.
Obviously, in places where smart meters have already been deployed, readings are more readily available and alerts could be generated on a second-by-second basis. Many of our distribution partners have been looking at deploying our solution in conjunction with a long-term metering overhaul, and as it seems right now, the immediate value driven out of our solution in live deployments can be baked into the (harder to make) ROI case for smart metering.
So the answer is definitely not a straigh-forward ‘no’. Metering and Infrastructure Monitoring go hand in hand – you can do one without the other, but the benefits of doing both are significant.