Solution will mean more accurate and timely electricity measurement
The energy sector is adopting mobile technology as a means of reducing wastage within the industry. BGlobal Metering, the UK’s leading advanced metering provider, has selected Orange to enable it to automate its metered data collection for industrial and commercial energy customers through to small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs). BGlobal Metering has developed a telemetry-based end-to-end metering offering, smartMETER that relies on mobile phone SIM card technology to collect and transmit data on electricity consumption.
Energy suppliers have traditionally relied on staff taking millions of manual meter readings. More importantly, the lack of timely and precise electricity readings has resulted in significant cash flow and financial planning issues within the industry. smartMETER will enable energy providers to produce more accurate electricity readings and bills, eliminating one of the biggest criticisms of the industry, that customers are charged for predicted electricity consumption, as opposed to actual usage.
The SIMs, provided by Orange, are programmed to collect and transmit data at any time and at any interval over the Orange GSM network. Tapping into a sector that runs an estimated 42 million meters across the UK, BGlobal Metering’s smartMETER service sends consumption data to its centralised data centre, leading to many benefits and cost savings.
Commenting on the selection of Orange as its network partner, Peter Kennedy, Managing Director, BGlobal Metering, said: “Technological and cost constraints have meant that advanced metering has simply not been feasible for SME Energy customers. Orange has a proven track record in providing telemetry solutions to business customers and has offered us a flexible, robust and simple solution that maps our projected development. We will be able to leverage their GSM network and this will ensure that we can roll out this telemetry solution across the UK.”
Telemetry or machine-to-machine (M2M), is a growth market; Frost and Sullivan suggests that as many as 13 billion devices across Europe have the potential to communicate. A wide range of vertical market sectors are driving uptake, including transport, vending, utilities, home security, and commercial equipment (such as photocopiers and franking machines).
On the impact telemetry could make on the energy sector, Mike Newnham vice president, business solutions, Orange UK, added: “M2M does not need to be complicated or costly and it has massive potential in the energy sector. As in BGlobal Metering’s case, it’s a very simple solution used to improve business performance through more accurate and timely data collection, retrieval and aggregation. This has an add-on effect in helping businesses improve billing processes and manage energy costs. Ultimately, BGlobal Metering is showing how mobile technology can be used to help all businesses become much more effective and efficient.”
BGlobal Metering is at different stages of contractual negotiations with four UK electricity suppliers and is currently working with another three. As a result they have formally placed a forward order for over 60,000 meters with EDMI (the meter manufacturer) as announced to the Singapore Stock Exchange in July 2004. There are currently over 2 million meters in the SME and Industrial & Commercial segment of the UK electricity market.