Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Chinese smart grid and meter firms opt for LoRa technology

Steve Rogerson
July 11, 2018

LPWAN provider Lowan is using Semtech LoRa technology for its smart-grid power meters. And fellow Chinese company Suntront Technology is using the same technology for its smart gas and water meters for more advanced coverage and analytics.
Lowan is based in Hangzhou and its smart grid products provide real-time data on metering usage over large urban areas. The LoRa-based sensors adjust automatically at certain power thresholds, negating human error and optimising efficiency. They provide users with a quick and efficient deployment, and compatibility with other smart home products including LoRa-connected locks and alarms.
“Our advanced power metering is designed to enable maximum efficiency in smart city power management,” said Paul Qian, founder and chairman of Lowan. “Through Semtech’s LoRa technology, data can be recorded through cloud-based user applications and city data analysis services. Lowan is dedicated to low cost, low power, high capacity and sustainable energy management technologies. LoRa offers the perfect backbone for our smart metering platforms, and has allowed us to develop and operate one of the largest IoT networks for smart energy in China.”
LoRa technology provides Lowan various benefits for metering applications, including deep penetration in dense urban and indoor regions and connection ranges of up to 50km in rural areas. For smart metering, the devices need to be designed for energy sustainability and offer low battery power to reduce battery replacements. Each LoRa-enabled sensor can handle millions of messages per base station.
“Lowan provides cities with flexible and reliable smart-grid solutions to maximise energy efficiency,” said Marc Pegulu, vice president of Semtec. “By leveraging Semtech’s LoRa technology, Lowan is able to improve power management in China and utilise the unique advantage that long range, low power IoT platforms offer to create a smarter planet.”
Suntront Technology focuses on smart meters for heat, gas, water and energy. It is located in Zhengzhou City, China.
“Our metering solutions provide the highest quality in water and gas management,” said Dong Yide, research and development director at Suntront. “Through usage of Semtech’s LoRa technology, the data are shared through our cloud-based application which enables end-to-end hands-on management of utilities. Suntront’s customers include many of China’s largest utility companies, and it is very important that we offer best-in-class reliability and efficiency. LoRa technology offers an unparalleled combination of long range and low power that handles more messages per gateway than competing hardware. This combination of precision and performance has allowed our products to succeed.”
Suntront’s smart gas and water metering uses LoRa technology to measure and adjust remotely the levels of flow through piping by accessing a LoRaWan and transmitting data via third-party applications. A user management software service provides the utility manager with all necessary functions, including the ability to view usage trends and monitor each meter remotely. Utility managers then use the data to programme the LoRa-enabled devices to shut off or change valves automatically when certain thresholds are met.
“Suntront provides cities and public utility managers with a highly accurate and easily installed solution for utility management,” said Pegulu. “Suntront’s IoT solution works to automate the management process to limit human error. As more cities move to smart utilities, LoRa and the IoT will continue to expand and improve efficiencies for a smarter planet.”