Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Mitsubishi terminal helps collect remote meter data

Steve Rogerson
March 24, 2020

Mitsubishi Electric has developed a battery-powered wireless communication terminal for use in sensor networks to collect gas and water meter data and remotely control sensors in the networks.
The Blender (for bid liaison and energy dispatcher) Ice (intelligent communication edge) terminal will enable meters to be automatically read and both monitored and controlled remotely to achieve efficiency in the maintenance operations of utilities and infrastructure operators. Various tests conducted so far have demonstrated that the terminal operates and communicates stably in the field.
Blender is packaged software developed by Tokyo-based Mitsubishi Electric in response to the changes in the power industry and to help utilities realise smarter and more efficient operations. The Blender Ice terminal will work with the Blender HE head-end software, which manages and controls smart meters through various communication methods and the Blender Mesh software, which uses wireless multi-hop communications to realise a wide range smart meter communication network at a low cost.
A common interface enables connection with diverse meters and sensors. The terminal supports standard communication interfaces to ensure connectivity with not only gas and water meters but also various sensing equipment.
Wide-area network connectivity enables remote control, monitoring and metering. By using low cost sub-GHz wireless communications that do not require a special licence or a designated specialist to connect with, not only is the Ice terminal suitable for smart-meter networks it can expand existing communications networks. This could enable services such as automated meter reading and infrastructure equipment monitoring and control through sensors at a low cost.
Battery operation enables unassisted operation for up to ten years. Since no external power supply is required, the battery-powered terminal can be installed anywhere, including meters in locations where power supply is difficult. Depending on usage conditions and the environment, it should be possible to use the device for up to ten years, which is the lifespan of most meters.