Reading, U.K. — (METERING.COM) — May 27, 2011 – Thames Water has started trialling a smart meter system that it expects will simplify and improve the efficiency of existing systems.
The system, a fixed network system but without the signal repeaters or concentrators of such systems, is being trialled in London, Reading and Swindon. The company’s Innovation team hopes this will make the transmission process simpler and more reliable.
“Fewer bits in the system mean fewer bits potentially going wrong,” commented Dr Piers Clark, commercial director at Thames Water. “This will also massively reduce the need for unsightly street-mounted transmission boxes in our towns and cities.”
The trial will also be used to evaluate an existing transmission system.
Initial data on how the system performs is expected to be available by October 2011, with the new system expected to give more accurate data on how the company manages its water network, showing up for example, customer usage and network and customer-side leaks.
To date 28 percent of the 3.3 million properties supplied by Thames Water currently have meters. The company aims to increase this to 60 percent by 2020.
In other news Thames Water has ordered 2,000 Panasonic Toughbook devices for its mobile field workers, enabling them to interact with the company’s new work and asset management information system, and thereby improve operational efficiency through more effective job allocation, scheduling, reporting and communication. The company’s below ground and new connection teams will be using the Toughbook CF-19 fully rugged notebooks, whilst the above ground engineers and water quality sampling teams will be using the full function hand-held PC, the Toughbook CF-U1.
All devices include an integrated GPS system to help locate network pipes, correctly record work against other fixed assets and to provide live information to the scheduling teams to enable improved response to customer and operational calls. The devices are also providing key information and data to manage and improve health and safety in Thames Water’s operational areas.