Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Group to extend NB-IoT water metering in China

Steve Rogerson
July 11, 2019

Sensor company Austria Microsystems, (AMS) smart municipal works firm Qingdao iESLab Electronic and water utility Jiangxi Water Group plan to extend their China Water Utilities Platform, an alliance founded to promote the benefits of ultrasonic water metering and NB-IoT technologies based on Ali Cloud.
With the launch of the Jiangxi Water Utility’s technical lab in Nanchang, Jiangxi Province, the partners will support China utilities companies with demonstrations of the big data dividend of ultrasonic water metering.
Jiangxi Water Group needs real-time, high-precision data to understand customer usage profiles to manage its water distribution infrastructure and services dynamically to around ten million households. As the first water company to install city-wide ultrasonic water meters in Greater China, the company will use water meter designs based on AMS ultrasonic flow measurement devices connected to the utility via an NB-IoT wireless network.
“As a company we want to be as good as water, and to aim for absolute perfection,” said Yimin Cai, president of Jiangxi Water Group. “That is why we intend to be the first utility in Greater China to implement ultrasonic water meters, providing real-time, high-precision data. By accessing this kind of big data about our business, which was not possible with traditional mechanical meters, we not only improve service delivery, we also make more sustainable use of this precious resource, and maximise our return on investment.”
Jiangxi Water Group established the Jiangxi Water Utility’s technical lab in collaboration with Qing-dao iESLab and AMS to provide utility companies in Greater China with a demonstration of real-time data generated by a network of wireless ultrasonic water meters.
The centre will demonstrate actual applications for the meters’ accurate flow measurements, including water waste reduction achieved by precisely locating leaks, enabling faster and more efficient maintenance and repair operations. It will also demonstrate improved quality of service, maintaining stable water pressure at end-user outlets by detecting and responding quickly to local peaks and troughs in demand.
“The new generation of water meters developed by iESLab and Jiangxi Water Group is set to transform the operation of the water supply network throughout China,” said Feizhou Han, CEO of Qingdao iESLab. “Benefiting from the proven AMS ultrasonic flow measurement technology, our water meter system will enable China’s water industry to cut leakage and improve operational efficiency. Ultimately this means utilities can improve the quality of service while reducing the cost of service, a win-win for suppliers and customers.”
Jiangxi Water Group’s implementation of connected ultrasonic water facilitates the digital transformation of the water supply industry. Real-time flow data from millions of consumer premises and distribution nodes are transmitted via China’s cellular mobile networks and aggregated in a virtual data centre provided by Ali Cloud.
The big data can be mined using data analytics programmes, detecting patterns in the timing, location, rate and variation in consumption, enabling the water company to improve operations by predicting consumption more accurately, identifying early warning signals of potential problems and informing investment decisions to match supply resources with demand requirements
“China’s strategic investment in advanced ultrasonic metering technology will provide far-reaching benefits to consumers, operators and the environment,” said Stefan Raible, engineering fellow at AMS. “Like all innovative technologies, ultrasonic meters require training and expertise to facilitate rapid adoption. We expect the Jiangxi Water Utility’s technical lab to make a huge contribution to the implementation in Greater China.”