Japan smart water meters: Sensus reports on Tokyo FlexNet trial


Sensus, which has a country office in Japan, kickstarted the pilot in May 2015, working with the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communication (MIC) to demonstrate that its FlextNet communications platform is well suited to smart electricity, water and gas meter utility rollouts.

Speaking at International Smart Grid Expo in Tokyo this week, Masanori Fujita, solution architect, technical sales for EMEA and Asia Pacific, said the results of the trial were “very good” and validate FlexNet’s long range radio network connectivity reliability in dense urban areas.

FlexNet in urban Tokyo

The trial was conducted in the urban area of Tokyo bay side where lines of sight from base stations are obstructed. Sensus used 15 battery-powered endpoints and two base stations connected to a hosted regional network interface in the US via a mobile router.

The base stations were located and installed on the rooftops of two selected buildings, within the trial area, according to Mr Fujita.

Sensus said the results of the project so far show that indoor use resulted in 100% connectivity in the challenging radio environments selected for the trial.

The trial consisted of smart water meters located in sunken pits and a range of meter boxes located in apartment buildings in areas of dense urban housing, seeing connectivity results from up to 9.5km.

A Sensus whitepaper on the project states: “We observed a 100% connectivity for 24 hours with 5 minute intervals.”

 Sensus in utility rollouts?

Sensus confirmed that after submitting a report on the results, MIC, the government department that manages frequency allocation in Japan, believes it can use the system.

Another utility market segment that has shown interest is water city companies as their “current systems can’t reach water meters inside the meter pits”.

Japan has an estimated 80 million smart water meters nationally.