Northumbria Water Limited


Sigfox LPWAN

Water Meters receive new digital lease of life to promote efficiency

Northumbrian Water Limited (NWL) provide mains water and sewerage services to 4.4 million people across Northumberland, Tyne and Wear, Durham and parts of North Yorkshire, and also supplying water as Essex and Suffolk Water. Water is supplied to 794,000 properties in Essex & Suffolk, with water and sewerage services provided to 1.3 million properties in the north east of England.

Every day NWL supply 1,104 megalitres (1.1 billion litres) of water.

The problem

The UK has around 5 million water meters enabled with very short range Advanced Meter Reading (AMR) radios that require a manual site visit to read every 6-12 months. These expensive assets produce useful data, albeit most of it is lost between visits. This is inefficient for retailers and wholesalers, inconvenient for customers and carries an unnecessary environmental impact.

Our solution

Jellyfish evolved advances IoT technology to detect short range transmissions for up to six assets and retransmits over long range Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) using low-cost, publicly available LPWAN (low-power, wide-area networks) Encryption key handling is implemented with a unique method in the Jellyfish system solution.

Discover more about Jellyfish

We teamed up with NWL to develop a first-of-a-kind technology that makes water metering relevant in a connected society. We first conceived the idea to extend their existing water meters’ capabilities at the NWL Innovation Festival in 2019 as a response to an open challenge to reduce inefficiencies in water consumption. This plays a vital role in protecting the environment, reducing bills and securing future supply for an increasing population.

Water meters are usually read every six-months by residents or by dispatching ‘man-in-a-van’. This is inconvenient for customers and inefficient for NWL, who are committed to reducing environmental impact and capturing crucial leakage information.

We deployed Jellyfish to up-cycle their existing water meters into smart devices, by enabling daily communication of property water meter readings.

Gary Adams, Smart Metering Lead at NWL said:

“B4T’s Jellyfish device has been modified to exploit short-range radio transmissions, usually used by technicians to read the meter during manual visits to each property in what is known as ‘drive-by’ automatic meter reading (AMR). Jellyfish captures multiple meters and catapults data, long-range over Advance Meter Infrastructure (AMI) to NWL.”

Alex Barter, CEO B4T said:

“Our challenge is cost-driven and environmentally crucial. Evolving Jellyfish to take the man-out-of-the-van had to be more than viable, it had to be bold. We’ve made step-changes in our IoT technologies to support NWL’s ambitious environmental and customer commitments.”

The AMI capability uses publicly available 0G network technology that keeps costs low with devices battery-powered for up to 15 years.

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