Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Aclara launches integrated network for gas, water and electric utilities

Steve Rogerson
September 9, 2015
For gas, water and electric utilities, Missouri-based smart infrastructure supplier Aclara has introduced the integrated Synergizenetwork, which is claimed to provide the best performance and the lowest cost of ownership of any network in the industry.
“The launch of the Synergize network is part of our strategy to enable a true smart infrastructure environment for any utility, whether gas, water, electric or combination,” said Allan Connolly, president and CEO of Aclara. “The network provides the information utilities need to understand and respond quickly to problems on their distribution networks.”
The centrepiece of the announcement is the Synergize RF electric network, which builds on the Star RF protocol and point-to-multipoint architecture for gas and water utilities. However, Synergize RF electric incorporates features to meet the requirements of electric and combination utilities, increasing range and bandwidth while reducing latency.
Plus, the electric network is claimed to be the lowest total cost of ownership network in the market today. Over a 15-year period, total cost of ownership is estimated to be approximately 35 per cent less than mesh systems.
Features of the network are designed to optimise utilities’ capital and operating savings while delivering high reliability and customer satisfaction. The array of performance parameters includes:
·    Improved range: The network operates on the FCC part 90, 450-470MHz band, providing 6dB better range than 900MHz systems, and delivering higher efficiency and lower costs to the utility.
·    Lower latency: At 50ms, latency on the electric network is half that of other point-to-multipoint systems and less than the latencies of mesh systems.
·    Better read rates: It delivers read rates of up to 228kbit/s compared with 128kbit/s for other point-to-point systems and 38.4kbit/s for mesh networks, optimising capital and operating savings.
·    Redundancy: The electric network provides the security of consistent, redundant data collection. This reduces the chance of lost readings, resulting in more accurate information and improved network performance.
In addition to offering a complete RF network, the network brings together elements of other Aclara products, including its Metrum Cellular LTE and Twacs power-line communications systems. All these communications technologies are controlled through Aclara’s IiDeas single head-end platform.
Thes head-end software provides analysis and control, making AMI data accessible and actionable. It samples, stores and correlates data from many sources to deliver insights that influence demand, service quality and performance, and improves customer satisfaction.
“The Synergize RF electric network completes what is already the industry’s most comprehensive product line for collecting and analysing data from electric AMI and distribution networks,” said Todd Ellis, product manager. “With features and functions that surpass any other RF electric solution in the market, it provides the best value in the market today, bar none.”