“…. we think that, as a manufacturer, we can be an active player in the development of communication technology. This is why we have gone beyond the ordinary conception of the water meter that we have been making for over sixty years, to make an innovative product capable of transmitting its index and other useful information by radio link. A technological revolution in our industry. Communication is at the centre of our interests, our everyday life and our future.” Daniel Roy, Vice-President and Managing Director, SAPPEL, September 1998.
In 1996, the IZAR radio technology was born in France.
IZAR became the brand of the radio system which was first developed by SAPPEL (renamed Diehl Metering/France in 2014) and then Diehl Metering. It all started back in 1996, at a time when few meter manufacturers were targeting the future of automatic meter reading. IZAR was developed in response to our customers’ and our market’s need to deal with the problem of reading meters. The radio system was developed to provide new services, such as detecting leaks, tampering attempts, blocked meters, etc. At first, only the water meter market was targeted, and then, gradually, IZAR’s applications were expanded to include the world of thermal energy, gas and electricity metering, i.e. ‘multi-utility’ applications.
The IZAR story started with a revolutionary idea – to use a radio system for the metering market. The first tests took place in 1995, on the basis of a prototype composed of a PULSAR ring topped by a large lid integrating the radio module and battery. Several areas of improvement and research followed, concerning the circuit board, antenna, battery, low consumption, etc. – leading in 1996 to the first IZAR (R1) radio which could be clipped onto the meters of the modular range, with no need for tools.
Different versions of IZAR followed, in particular IZAR DP (mounted separately from the meter), so that our system could be connected to other meters on the market. In the meantime, SAPPEL joined the Hydrometer Group in 1998, which in turn joined the Diehl Group in 2003, opening up great opportunities – combined expertise, internal production, large R&D investments and powerful innovation.
The next generation of IZAR – R3 and R3.5 – was much more accurate, robust and efficient. Sales and production volumes took off in 2004 and the new radio generation could also be integrated into other types of meters – like SHARKY, our ultrasonic thermal energy meter and HYDRUS, our ultrasonic water meter.
In 2010, a new generation – IZAR RC i R4 – was launched. From mobile to fixed networks, reading modes are constantly improved. To meet the needs of the different markets, depending on the urban and environmental constraints, Diehl Metering has developed its IZAR range in such a way as to be used under any circumstances.
Two complementary reading modes are available: the ‘walk-by, drive-by’ mobile reading solution and the ’fixed network’ remote reading system. The performance of these reading modes has been optimised gradually, with the development and technological innovations. In 2014, a new IZAR mobile reading version was launched, called ‘passive drive-by’, using refuse collection vehicles. This innovation has been very well received by the French and English markets, especially for use on the outskirts of cities.
Now, more than just one product, IZAR is a comprehensive solution. IZAR PLUS covers every need in smart metering, from the system to the processing of data: complementarity and interoperability between fixed and mobile reading modes, integration of R4 technology compatible with R3 (optimisation of reading distances depending on the type of installation of the fleet of meters), service and support (monitoring of the network). IZAR Software, a data management system, complements the solution: IZAR PLUS Portal, IZAR@NET V2 and, coming soon, IZAR@MOBILE Android. Efficient tools to optimise the management of multi-utility systems, in response to the challenges of the energy transition.
To date, since IZAR was launched, over 41 million radios have been produced and installed around the world. 2016 is the radio’s 20th anniversary, representing twenty years of experience and innovation. But the IZAR adventure continues. This year, Diehl Metering is launching a new generation of IZAR RC i G4 radio, developed in response to the growing demand in the market. It communicates through the OMS protocol (Operating Metering Standard) and is certified by an independent body to guarantee full interoperability with all other systems running OMS. Diehl Metering received its OMS certification in October 2015. IZAR RC i G4 is the first radio system in the IZAR range to use this protocol. The unique transmission principle means the IZAR RC I G4 can be used in mobile and/or fixed networks without reconfiguration being necessary to switch from one mode to the other. The new functions of the G4 radio, notably leakages’ information detailed, were developed to help our clients improve their monitoring of consumption in the network, and more generally, to help them manage their installed portfolio of meters more effectively with a product that also boasts an ergonomic design.
The OMS protocol, combined with Diehl Metering technology, provides an ultra-efficient automatic meter-reading solution. Our goal is to support you as your market evolves, to help you with the new challenges you meet, for example, with the Internet of Things (IoT). MI