An integrated solution

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Conference: Metering, Billing/CIS America 2007
Location: San Antonio, TX, USA
Presenter: Ogilvie Gericke
Abstract: Presented by Ogilvie Gericke at Metering, Billing/CIS America 2007

Our initial vision for this project centered on a WiFi-based Automated Meter Reading (AMR) network, with the objectives of reducing costs and lead time, increasing data integrity, improving customer service, and mitigating risks associated with reading utility meters. 

With these goals, the City commissioned an engineering study in 2003 that showed a positive return on investment realized through labor savings from the elimination of meter readings by municipal personnel.  After the success of an initial 24 square mile pilot project covering more than 3,000 automated water and gas meters, the City approved the build out of the remaining 123 square miles.

The AMR investment has given us a WiFi network with far more capacity than the meter reading operations require.  The improved data speeds enable the City to make better use of existing technologies and applications, and reduces the cost of others. Accordingly, our vision for the use of the network continues to evolve, and we believe we can use the network to provide myriad benefits to residents and businesses throughout Corpus Christi. 

To assist in prioritizing possibilities, the City established the following 6 guiding principles for use of the network and resources: government effectiveness; educational excellence; universal access; economic vitality; improved quality of life; and an open market business model.

As a consequence, the City undertook extensive discussions with all city departments, a large number of governmental agencies, and private sector corporations on how they might benefit from and take part in the maintenance, operation, and application support for the network.  The City also authorized $7 million for the development of the WiFi network and today this network is being developed for the following uses:

  • Government applications, including provision of local content to all citizens.
  • Hospitals, educational institutions and other public-sector users can utilize telemedicine and other important applications to benefit citizens.
  • Universal access to advanced technology throughout the City. (Universal access promotes economic development, and will provide educational and other social benefits to all citizens.)
  • Businesses are enabled to use on line store resources through a high traffic marketplace (level with name brand retailers) and citizens will be enabled to learn through high value distance learning resources (level with more affluent citizens).

The City and the Corpus Christi Independent School District are actively pursuing implementation of a system that will allow increased parental involvement through the use of the WiFi system

The City has formed a partnership with members of the information technology industry, various governmental agencies, and a large hospital system to provide a test-bed for new, cutting-edge uses of WiFi.

In short, it appears that our vision and our success are limited only by our imagination.