Cost efficient meter reading with wireless sensor networks


Erlangen, Germany — (METERING.COM) — September 23, 2008 – Adaptive sensor network technology for a variety of data collection, monitoring and control applications is being presented by the Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits IIS at Metering, Billing/CRM Europe, which opened in Amsterdam yesterday.

The software basis of the systems is a power saving protocol, the so- called “Slotted MAC.” The hardware has also been optimized with the sensor node small in size, extremely power efficient and adaptable to custom-made sensor network solutions.

The innovative technology was licensed by the Austrian company Verfahrens- und Automationstechnik GmbH (Veraut), in order to develop their Versim product portfolio. The Linz-based company manufactures data loggers and communication equipment for gas, water and heat meters.

To date each household meter has required a GSM module for wireless transmission of data. Now with the new solution the meters are equipped with a radio node, which transmits the data wirelessly to a master node, from where it is forwarded on via power line communication or GSM/GPRS to a central server.

Veraut is utilizing the Fraunhofer technology in pilot projects for Oberösterreichische Ferngas AG, Linz AG and Wien Energie, with the latter running 200 household meters failure-free for three months. Head of division for gas measurement and meter installation Herbert Schwab explains: “Our great advantage is the automated meter reading. So far installation teams once a year have to drive long distances to check meters in every household. Now we get daily updated datasets delivered electronically.”

The network solution also allows for bidirectional multi-hop communication, for example for automated connection and disconnection of meters.

The Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits IIS provides research services on a contract basis and technology licensing.