In today’s unprecedented times, utilities all need to rethink the way they interact with customers and the demands made of employees.
For utilities, business depends on collecting water meter data from customers – traditionally, this involves entering peoples’ homes and taking manual readings, but social distancing today requires limited physical contact with customers. On top of that, the shift to remote working means employees are less available to carry out readings on the ground.
How do utilities 0vercome these challenges, collect data without customer contact, and better protect employees and customers? The answer could well be Diehl Metering’s IZAR radio technology, a solution that enables Automatic Meter Reading (AMR) and Automatic Metering Infrastructure (AMI) to allow for remote data capturing.
By digitising meter reading, IZAR enables utilities to adapt to the current climate. There is no longer any need to make customer appointments – which eliminates physical interaction and the need to touch any devices. The whole process is entirely contactless. What’s more, readings are automatic, avoiding the potential for human error.
Read meters at a distance
With Diehl Metering’s AMR solution, utilities can choose from four different methods to collect readings. With the IZAR Walk-by solution, a person equipped with a tablet simply walks in front of consumers’ homes to capture their usage data, automatically and wirelessly. Similarly, the Drive-by solution enables readings to be taken from vehicles travelling up to 50km/h.
What’s more, IZAR makes it easy to switch from Drive-by to a Passive Drive-by solution without any need for an upgrade – saving time and labour costs. Radio receivers can easily be fitted to a vehicle that regularly passes in front of consumers’ homes, such as a refuse collection vehicle or a mail van. Unlike similar systems, IZAR does not require a special route to gather the data in a specific order. The vehicle can simply do its usual rounds, collecting meter readings as its drives from neighbourhood to neighbourhood.
Finally, the system can easily be upgraded to a fixed network with AMI by installing IZAR RDC receivers. As well as allowing employees to remotely read meters, IZAR AMI allows them to manage all their operations at a distance – which makes it the ultimate solution in social distancing.
IZAR technology is at the heart of Diehl Metering’s smart metering solutions. This proven radio technology delivers flexibility and reliability, allowing data to be transmitted remotely and, with AMI, at any time and as often as you like. All meters can be fitted with IZAR radio modules – or they come with integrated radio technology in meters such as HYDRUS for water or SHARKY for thermal energy – and readings are captured using a handheld device such as an IZAR@MOBILE 2 TABLET or via a fixed receiver, depending on the chosen solution.
The data is then synchronised with Diehl Metering’s powerful meter management software IZAR@NET installed on servers and PCs. Alternatively, users can opt for software as a service with the online platform IZAR PLUS PORTAL.
Faster, safer, surer
The benefits? 100% of meters can be read accurately and at a safe distance. Customers are only billed for their actual consumption, keeping satisfaction high. And utilities are able to protect both employees and customers by eliminating the need for face-to-face interaction. Readings are also faster and more reliable.
IZAR is highly flexible, allowing utilities to combine Walk-by, Drive-by, Passive Drive-by and AMI solutions. For example, an IZAR fixed network can be used to automatically gather data in a high-density area, while Drive-by is used to read meters in more remote locations.
With IZAR, network processes are digitised and automated. That means utilities can consume resources more efficiently, protect their people, and adapt their business to the needs of the current climate. It’s a solution that is perfectly suited to these current times.