Smart metering is the monitoring of resource consumption, such as energy, water, gas, etc., through modern metering devices connected to the Internet via IoT technology.
These metering devices are typically referred to as smart meters. While there’s a huge variety of them available on the market today, the biggest challenge is integrating various devices into a meaningful smart metering solution for a specific company’s use case.
Smart metering is typically used for accurate energy accounting and billing, but it can be also used for many other real-life use cases, such as, to optimize and eliminate wasteful practices on factory floors, spot water leaks or reduced gas pressure, encourage efficient fuel consumption, or prevent theft.
IoT smart metering solutions usually comprise several technology layers:
In a single package, Kaa includes each of the above mentioned IoT technology layers, features, and capabilities, which are critical to implement a truly enterprise-grade metering solution.
Smart metering is arguably the most prominent among IoT solutions, and is widely utilized by companies large and small. It is also one of the most predictable from a ROI perspective, so it is only natural for businesses’ first experience with IoT technologies to begin with smart metering.
Whether your goal is to cut down on electricity overhead for your production facilities or develop your own smart meters with advanced software capabilities, you can use the Kaa IoT Platform to implement and maintain your smart metering product or solution.
Companies who seek to optimize their operating costs but have little experience with modern IoT technology often face basic smart metering integration troubles. While it is easy to order a smart meter on the Internet, setting it up and getting visual metering data the way you want it is a different story. One problem is in many cases you can’t test the application that comes with the smart meter when you buy it. Another issue is that you can’t tweak the application if the need arises, or use it together with applications from other device vendors. This is why 9 times out of 10 you’d be better off using an IoT platform that offers all the features and flexibility you need for smart metering with some extra room for future growth.
The first advantage of an IoT platform for regular businesses is that you can use it to connect metering devices from any popular vendor to your system and manage them together.
Your smart metering dashboards, once set up, will work seamlessly with any new device that you may add to the system. In the Kaa platform, it is quite easy to set up the entire smart metering application because we offer an out-of-the-box solution template that features all the popular capabilities and graphical widgets for smart metering.
The second advantage is the ability to change pieces around, create custom dashboards, notifications, and implement advanced smart metering use cases. In Kaa, our goal was to provide users with a graphical UI that removes the need for coding for all the typical customization tasks. At the same time, software engineers can enjoy the freedom of the microservice-based architecture of Kaa and even program their own features if they’d like to.
Smart meter manufacturers can take advantage of an IoT platform for a number of use cases: from running remote software updates and tracking performance of their devices to offering a full-scale IoT smart metering application for their customers. OEMs who provide a flexible IoT solution together with the device will have a significant edge over the competition, that’s why fully adopting IoT technology is so important for hardware manufacturers. With the right IoT platform, developing a customer-centric smart metering solution is rather straightforward. It is also easier to create personalized versions of the solution for important clients if it is built on a flexible IoT platform rather than hard-wired with a limited number of functions and capabilities.
Using an IoT smart metering solution for their devices, manufacturers can simplify their product development and user analytics tasks.
First, rolling out new software can be done in a few clicks. You can segregate them by customer, release version, location, etc. You can also maintain several versions at once in your system. Second, you can collect device performance data to pre-empt malfunction, run tests, and track other KPIs according to your product specification. You can also use this data to validate warranty claims.
What’s especially convenient, modern IoT platforms provide flexible user access management that enables manufacturers to use the same platform instance for multiple user roles. Device managers will log in to a workspace with their unique dashboards and device management access rights while customers will only see their metering dashboards, alerts, and analytics charts. One platform can serve both parties, vendors and customers, at the same time.
Smart metering solutions can be quite complex, and that’s why not every company can build them in house, even with the right IoT platform. That’s where technology partners and solution integrators step in. Their specific use case is, first of all, to find a platform for smart metering solutions that is both powerful enough to address diverse customers’ needs and easy enough to use so that the development process takes minimum time and effort. Additionally, they require flexible integration and customization options in order to connect diverse solutions into one.
Now, how do you use an IoT platform to acquire actual smart metering projects? The common way is to build a proof of concept and make a strong match for the client’s requirements.
That’s why rapid prototyping capability is another important criteria for solution integrators looking for a smart metering platform. In Kaa, for example, we offer a free plan for 5 devices so that companies can build and thoroughly test their solutions at small scale before subscribing to paid plans. We also have a ready-to-go smart metering solution prototype, which we call a template, within the platform so that you can show your customers a rich demo before even learning how to develop anything in Kaa.
Last but not the least, there’s the question of the platform’s vendor availability and support. Solution integrators must know they can count on the vendor’s product team to help them cope with complex projects, training, and the end user support. The cost of such support services should be also taken into account.
With Kaa you can create end-to-end smart metering solutions that address the needs of non-tech companies, smart meter manufacturers, and solution integrators.
The following dashboard for IoT smart metering is what you get in Kaa out of the box. All you need is add your smart meters to the platform and start working with your data! Sign up for a free trial to get started.