When examining a Smart Water Metering (SWM) project, the initial focus is often the smart meter, communications and meter management software. However, Taggle Systems has found long-term project and business success is driven by other considerations.
Sure, within a SWM project the meter metrology, battery life, telemetry and ultimately the data delivery by the Meter Data Management Systems (MDMS) are all important. But if we broaden the view and examine the meter insights and implications on business processes, a range of new perspectives are revealed.
New data insights warrant new actions
Moving from quarterly meter readings to hourly meter readings means you have a wealth of new data to yield insights, which both creates new questions and warrants new action. Such as:
- Zero water flow over seven days: if the meter is transmitting, has it been removed indicating water theft?
- Continuous high flow: Do we inspect the meter? Is the meter the right size?
- Leaks: How many times should we follow up a customer? Do they still get a rebate once notified? How should we advise them?
What policies need to change from these new capabilities? Having new data and providing leak notifications to customers has implications to customer requests for bill relief.
Should a customer who has been notified of a leak, but not actioned it, be allowed bill relief? How much time should the customer be given to fix their leak? Does the customer have to sign up to the customer portal to get the relief and ensure that future leaks are quickly identified?
Which system is the new master
The introduction of new systems to capture and manage your water meters and customers may mean the traditional master data source you have relied on may not be as up to date as the MDMS. Fields in the MDMS, such as the meter serial number, will likely be more up to date than in the Asset Management System (AMS), which traditionally has stored these.
Your billing system will leverage the meter reading from the MDMS, but what about change of ownerships and new tenants on lease properties. The integration between your CRM/billing systems and identifying what data is the master, are key considerations that ensure minimal use of daily or weekly manual processes to align the differing systems.
What integration between the MDMS and your AMS is needed beyond billing? The MDMS can identify customer-side water leaks. Systems like Aqualus Water from Taggle, can both detect and manage the customer SMS or mail communications to end consumers. If you’re using a CRM for end customer management, you’ll want to consider integration to provide your customer management team the single view of the customer.
Importance of district metered areas (DMAS)
Non-revenue water is often a major driver of the business case for smart water metering, a portion of this comes from monitoring DMAs and mass balance calculations. Setting DMAs up should be considered in the initial scope of work as additional network meters might be required to clearly define DMA areas.
Once DMA’s are in place, network losses can be easily quantified and investigated. Network losses can be significant and identifying any mains breaks quickly or before they escalate can deliver valuable savings.
Importance of internal and external stakeholders’ engagement
SWM projects have the potential to touch a range of initially unforeseen, but in the future key, stakeholder groups. With more than 65 deployments to date, Taggle encourages customers to bring the broader organisation on the Smart Water Metering journey. To achieve the business outcomes desired, council or utility staff and the community need to be educated and engaged with the project.
This sponsored editorial is brought to you by Taggle. For more information, please visit taggle.com.