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T2 (Transparent Technologies) embarked on it’s journey of Digital Transformation with a goal to empower customers with information to make decisions regarding their consumption of water and build efficiencies not only to reduce their utility bills but also join the global initiative of water conservation. They have developed a smart-meter solution that uses the cellular network (Verizon Wireless) to ingest data from the meters to the cloud (Microsoft Azure) and provide detailed analyses and reporting around this data.

The Big Problem

As with many companies trying to create smart-meters and solutions for the utilities and water industries, the challenges fall in two categories: How to make meters “smart” and ingest the data from homes to the companies and how to derive intelligent actions based on the huge amounts of ingested data in an efficient and cost-effective way. Since most of the utilities companies don’t have expensive data centers or state of the art analytical software, this can be a perfect scenario to realize the efficiencies of the cloud. Water utilities need:

  • Real-time consumption visibility for the utilities and for the consumers – to track & monitor water consumption data. If they could, they would be aware of the wastage & costs associated.
  • Alerts/notifications engine to report water loss, leakage, theft and over consumption, whenever it happens. No alerts – so, no one takes right actions at right time.  Most meter providers & Water Utilities have no scalable & robust data management systems to store and manage billions of data records coming-in from millions of meters.
  • Real-time data, and high-scale data management platform – they don’t yet have any predictive capabilities to accurately predict failures, events & outcomes.
  • Remote Asset management & proactive maintenance systems, to keep a watch on the health of field assets at pre-scheduled intervals.

The Smart Analytics solution

T2 smartly addressed all these impediments, working with Saviant consulting, by implementing highly scalable meter data management & Data analytics solution on their smart meters, which:

  • Connects 100,000 Smart water meters, and easily handles 5x more such devices.
  • Manages 250 Million+ data records per year, scalable to 100-times that volume.
  • Operates with best-in-the-industry data collection frequency of every five-minute visibility of water consumption, scalable to every 1-minute as well.
  • Enables consumer awareness and energy conservation, by utilizing the power of real-time consumption data/alerts/water-budgets
  • Helps create healthy water supply network, with real-time Distribution analytics, asset health analysis & predictive maintenance of Utilities assets; saving millions of gallons of water.
  • Increases life of water meters by 40-50%, giving high ROI to Utilities.

A low cost path for Utilities

The smart analytics solution gives water utilities a quick and painless path to generate business intelligence. The benefits include:

  • Water Utilities can now identify revenue-sapping water loss across the system, peak usage periods (to create pricing structures), seasonal usage (to aid in long-term planning), annual consumption statistics, aggregated consumption totals (to build forecasts), and flowrate analysis (to assist with maintenance planning).
  • It helps increase revenue-water & minimizes non-revenue water, thus growing the top-line as well as profitability.
  • It helps reduce the overhead of ad hoc/unplanned asset maintenance – thereby reducing the fixed costs in millions of dollars.
  • Customers get text alerts & emails on abnormal consumption patterns such as high usage, zero usage and leakages via a notification engine.
  • Increases consumer engagement by providing real-time visibility of consumption data through mobile apps to achieve the desired consumer behavior for Energy conservation, saving Billions of gallons of utility every year.
  • Utilities can now track & identify leaks, unauthorized consumption, missed meter read, their patterns and usage events.
  • The system offers utilities to monitor health of field assets and help in predictive & proactive maintenance of infrastructure.

The Technology used

This solution uses Microsoft Azure platform services (PaaS) to build a cloud-native self-scalable solution, that combines four key pillars of digital transformation for any enterprise – Analytics, IoT, Mobility & Cloud.

  • Azure Event Hubs as an ingestion service to collect, transform and store millions of events. It integrates with Stream Analytics to ingest millions of events per second.
  • Streaming data analytics using Azure Stream Analytics to process ingested events in real-time and to compare it with historical values or models. It detects anomalies and triggers an alert to the consumers. It also helps in displaying the real-time data on the dashboard.
  • Power BI for analyzing data and presenting the data into rich visuals to help consumers understand their water usage pattern. Power BI dashboards provided a 360-degree view for the consumers with their most important KPIs in one place.
  • Azure NoSQL storage (table and blob storage) to store meter data. In conjunction with careful schema design, NoSQL storage allows the high-performing T2 meter-data-management system to store huge amounts of data and access it very quickly.
  • Azure Storage queue reduces the time to validate the credentials of incoming meter data, and enhances the battery life of Smart Meters, which are IoT field assets.
  • Azure Cloud Services worker roles for non-transactional data processing. A data compactor service gets data from the Azure Storage queue, processes it, and stores it. A missed-log service retrieves missed logs for any meter.
  • Azure App Service, which Integrates with Web Application and Mobile apps to provide utility consumption data in real-time for the consumers.

The Result

Within a few months of solution launch, T2 had several notable Water Utilities customers across the United States. And it continues to grow every year now.

“We needed to get to market as quickly as possible with a smart metering & analytics solution, and our team at Saviant inherited this complex Azure project and has helped us tremendously in reaching our goals. I am committed to Saviant since they have shown dedication, skill and commitment to us” says Mark Shamley, Vice President of Operations at Transparent Technologies.

Long Beach Water Department used the Water Analytics System developed by T2/Saviant, to track consumption patterns in the household and commercial organizations. The department found a large food chain business firm, Mc Donald’s near Long Beach, California consuming large volumes of water supply than permitted, and fined them for being guilty of using more water than permitted. Watch the full story covered by NBC news – Saviant’s Smart Water Meter Tracking System Help Long Beach California Crack Down on Water Wasters

For More information visit: www.saviantconsulting.com