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Jellyfish water meters connect with Sigfox
- January 31, 2024
- Steve Rogerson
European Sigfox operator Heliot has partnered B4T to provide it with Sigfox-0G network connectivity for its smart water meters.
UK firm B4T’s Jellyfish smart water meters are IoT devices that let utility companies, organisations and consumers track water consumption so leaks within systems can be better managed, and for accurate billing.
The Jellyfish Bridge technology upcycles water meters that are usually read annually, providing meters and users with the capability to record information hourly and remotely. This enables water companies and end users to gain a more comprehensive understanding about acquired water consumption and leakage.
The Jellyfish (www.barterforthings.co.uk/jellyfish) works by recording the data and compressing them so they can be effectively transmitted, which helps maintain a battery life in the field of more than fifteen years. The data transmission and connectivity are handled with Sigfox’s low-powered wide-area network (LPWAN) technology, which overcomes underground connectivity problems posed by traditional 4G, 5G and wifi connectivity.
By exploiting weak, short range drive-by radio and converting it into a reliable, long-range Sigfox radio, data are transmitted more accurately and share the necessary insights required by management and billing teams to make decisions about water consumption, leaks or other kinds of operational tasks that relate to their water systems. For instance, if there is a leak, an alert can be set up to inform a field service team to address the issue, or the data can be used to support billing.
“The UK has a water problem and three billion litres of water – over a fifth of the total supply – are lost to leakage every single day,” said Alex Barter, managing director of B4T (www.barterforthings.co.uk). “This is not just a waste of a vital resource. When 3% of the UK’s energy consumption is needed to shift water around the country, the complete environmental impact of leakage is even more impactful and noteworthy. Therefore, using smart water meters enables water companies and the like to identify the sources of leaks in real time. They allow for a more rapid response to problems, reducing the volume of wasted water, and support better targeted investment. For consumers, a stronger understanding of water usage habits will become increasingly beneficial too, as people strive to adapt their behaviour and reduce daily consumption.”
However, he said these devices could not function and provide the insights that organisations and consumers needed without being connected to the cloud and IoT.
“We considered various forms of connectivity and concluded that low power networks, such as Sigfox, offer a transformative cost-benefit model for smart water metering,” he said. “Our sensors can collect water usage in real time. Data can then be transmitted and transformed using machine learning to provide unprecedented insights, all of which can be used to support leak detection and prevention, and offer predictive maintenance, among other things.”
Gareth Mitchell, partner manager for Heliot Europe, added: “IoT sensors and connectivity are transforming industries and solving problems globally. They’re improving operations and making businesses and consumers’ lives easier. B4T’s Jellyfish smart water meter provides a prime example of how IoT, powered by Sigfox connectivity, is able to transform an industry.”
Heliot Europe (www.heliotgroup.com) is the exclusive operator of the global Sigfox 0G network in Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Slovenia, UK, Denmark and Liechtenstein.
• Holtek Semiconductor (www.holtek.com), a professional IC design house focused on microcontrollers, is working with Unabiz (www.unabiz.com), an IoT service provider and integrator, to integrate Sigfox 0G technology into Holtek’s BC68F2150 chipset. This collaboration aims to bring more energy-efficient and cost-effective Sigfox-based options for developers and users in the logistics and supply chain sector.