Enabling Advanced Water Metering Infrastructure Across the United States
Senet has built on its 10-year history of modernizing non-technical industries to establish a leadership position in helping utilities evolve their Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) initiatives.
In just the past two years, Senet has designed, constructed, and operated smart meter networks for municipal water utility districts across North America, representing millions of households. For utilities looking to modernize their water and wastewater infrastructure, gone are the days of labor-intensive meter reading and lack of visibility into distribution, collection, and consumption patterns. LoRaWAN™ enabled AMI and infrastructure monitoring solutions are fundamentally changing the way utilities and municipalities manage water and energy resources for the communities they serve, delivering a maximum return on investment over the long term. This long-term view is supported by the ten to fifteen year in-field lifespan of LoRaWAN meters as opposed to the typical refresh cycle of cellular services and products (3G, 4G, 5G) every three to five years.
In addition to supporting water AMI initiatives, Senet’s LoRaWAN networks are creating new opportunities for multi-utility service providers and municipalities as they explore a variety of metering, safety, energy management, and sustainability use cases.
What is Driving Demand?
With the water systems built during previous generations reaching or exceeding the end of their useful life, the renewal and replacement of aging water and wastewater infrastructure is the top challenge facing water utilities in the United States. In fact, this single critical issue has topped the American Water Works Association (AWWA) State of the Water Industry Report for the last seven years.
Second on the AWWA’s list of utility concerns over the same seven-year period has been financing for capital improvements. Until recently, this combination of infrastructure and budgeting challenges has been met with a patchwork of proprietary metering and communication technologies that have delivered incremental levels of automation, but remain costly to operate and are not designed to scale to support a broader set of rapidly emerging municipal resource conservation and sustainability initiatives.
Now, with the global COVID-19 Pandemic, employee and community safety is of paramount concern. The deployment of AMI eliminates the need for water utility employees to go out into the community to collect meter data. Further, because data is being transmitted multiple times during a day, cloud-based diagnostic systems can be employed to identify problems and eliminate or reduce the time employees spend in the field.
Through a combination of advanced metering technology and new cloud-based network management solutions offered by Senet and our partners, utilities can now confidently address the renewal and replacement of critical infrastructure that has been put off or addressed with a piecemeal approach for years.
The Shift from Proprietary to Open Communication Standards
Water metering is one of the fastest growing segments of the global LoRaWAN solutions market, with millions of smart meters being deployed globally. IHS Markit forecasts the global smart water meter market will surpass $2 billion in 2020 and smart meters and utility applications connected via LPWAN technologies will total more than 300 million by 2023.
This growth in open, standards-based Low Power Wide Area Network (LPWAN) technologies has resulted in a shift away from vendor proprietary water metering and data collection solutions. Over time, these proprietary systems have resulted in inefficiencies driven by high operational costs, vendor lock-in, and lack of control of the data collection infrastructure. With a number of LPWAN smart metering solutions being introduced as suitable replacements, choosing the right communication standard is a critical factor and is directly related to the operational flexibility and cost savings a utility will realize.
For metering and infrastructure monitoring applications – most of which have relatively low data payloads and seldom require low latency – LoRaWAN offers the range, propagation characteristics, extended battery life, ease of deployment, and cost profile the water industry requires. With LoRaWAN technology, utility companies can more effectively measure usage data and trends in urban environments, rural areas, indoors and underground – wirelessly and without manual intervention.
Carrier-Grade Network-as-a-Service for Utilities
Today’s advanced metering systems require complex network design, expert construction, ongoing support, and inherent security. Not every utility has the resources to implement and maintain such complex network and software systems. Network-as-Service (NaaS) models allow utilities to focus on their core business and leave the deployment and ongoing maintenance of the AMI network to the network operator.
In an operator-managed cloud-based systems approach, the network operator installs the network gateways, ensures high-availability network connectivity and maintains operation of the network, while the utility or meter solution provider is responsible for the meter and endpoint maintenance. This cooperative model benefits the utility, allowing them to recognize the full value of AMI without the operational burden of building and maintaining the system infrastructure.
Senet designs and optimizes purpose-built networks to support the way metering applications are deployed in the real world – custom-designed based on each utility’s unique geographical and application-specific connectivity requirements. Our carrier-grade public, private and semi-private network models support varying utility and municipality requirements and are capable of connecting hundreds of thousands, or millions, of sensors collecting and sending data over a longer range and at a lower cost than competing technologies.
Senet’s deployment models include:
Senet Public Network: Senet designs, builds, and operates your custom AMI solution, providing network and device management services. Grow your AMI footprint with support from Senet when your network needs to expand or as your community grows. Utilities then have the option to add other operational and community related applications over time.
Senet Private Networks: This model enables the Utility to be the “owner operator” of the network, while leveraging Senet’s managed cloud services. Your AMI network is supported by Senet’s network design, deployment and device management expertise, and includes data privacy and agile connectivity options specific to your needs.
Senet Semi-Private Networks: Flexibility in gateway and device deployments allows for desired levels of access control, coupled with the opportunity to participate in Senet’s unique Low Power Wide Area Network (LVN) revenue sharing models.
A Network Design is an easy way to get started. We can help with everything from site selection, RF propagation planning, spectrum analysis, network construction and installation, and ongoing network operations and support. GET STARTED NOW!
Device Management and Security at Scale
Senet’ secure, carrier-grade connectivity services are built on an internally developed cloud-based services architecture designed to scale to support the massive volume of devices that will ultimately connect to the Internet of Things. With this advanced connectivity architecture, Senet has deployed and manages the largest LoRaWAN network in the United States.
To support large-scale endpoint deployments such as water metering, Senet supports both Activation-by-Personalization (ABP) and Over-The-Air Activation (OTAA) devices which may be onboarded individually or in mass. The OTAA bulk method of onboarding simplifies deployments by pre-provisioning the End Device and Join Controller with the information needed to allow the sensor to join the network securely and establish predictable operation.
With robust and tested security being critical to protect public health, ensure safety, and to prevent service disruptions, LoRaWAN is highly capable of handling the requirements for secure wireless delivery of water meter data and addresses many of the more complex technical and commercial challenges faced in the industry. The LoRaWAN protocol was built with security as a fundamental part of the network architecture and all Senet LoRaWAN network assets and endpoint deployment practices are implemented with security as a critical part of the design process.
Smart City Applications
Smart Cities will evolve and mature as they achieve higher levels of integration among technology-driven city services like utilities. At the core of this evolution must be a secure, efficient and affordable network and information technology infrastructure.
With a dense LoRaWAN network in place to support a key utility service like water metering, municipalities have the option to rapidly expand their IoT initiatives. Easy LoRaWAN gateway deployment and cloud-based network management provided by Senet allow for applications to be implemented at a low cost and in a collaborative fashion.
This approach of shared technology, shared infrastructure, integrated projects and shared costs, allows cities to gain the full benefits of digital transformation and provides the ability to rapidly deploy a full array of indoor and outdoor IoT solutions to improve operational efficiencies, provide better services, engage in sustainable practices, and ultimately achieve a higher quality of life for citizens. Environmental monitoring, smart street lights, smart parking, and smart trash collection are all solutions that can be connected to the dense LoRaWAN networks initially deployed for AMI, and used to benefit the community at large over time.
A Proven Leader in Industrial IoT Networks
Senet is changing the paradigm for how IoT services are delivered and monetized across the utility industry and within Smart Cities. Our network services allow you to unlock the full potential of industrial IoT solutions, modernizing utility operations, driving a greater return on investment and contributing to the build out of more modern, efficient and safe cities.
Utilities and municipalities trust Senet to design, deploy and manage their critical networks because of:
Assured Carrier-Grade Performance & Reliability
With best-in-class technologies, we deliver proven industry-leading performance.
Network and Solution Deployment Expertise
Our flexible, cost-optimized business models support the rapid deployment of IoT networks and solutions when and where they are needed.
Flexibility & Interoperability
Senet’s open, standards-based network services enable seamless coordination across a diverse ecosystem.
Deploy LoRaWAN AMI solutions designed to last for decades in the field compared to the typical 3-5 year refresh of cellular solutions, and benefit financially from municipal partnerships as IoT networks and connected device deployments scale.
Build your smart utility on technology designed to last. To get started, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org