Addressing network coverage black spots in the water industry 

Addressing network coverage black spots in the water industry 

– By Shea Karssing

September 6, 2023

Network coverage issues, often referred to as “black spots,” are a universal concern affecting numerous sectors, including the water utilities industry. Black spots signify areas with limited or no access to dependable network connectivity, encompassing mobile and internet services. This predicament has widespread implications for the global water utilities sector, which relies heavily on seamless communication and efficient data transmission. 

Problems associated with insufficient connectivity 

Irrespective of their geographic location, the water utilities sector demands robust and consistent network coverage to ensure uninterrupted operations. A stable connection is pivotal for tasks like remote monitoring, data collection, leak detection, and maintenance activities within the industry. Efficient communication networks enable real-time information exchange, facilitating rapid responses to emergencies, the identification and resolution of issues, and effective resource management. 

Nevertheless, black spots in network coverage present substantial hurdles to these operations. Notably, these black spots can be as small as areas within a single building where network signals do not reach. 

Insufficient connectivity in these regions makes it challenging for water utilities to monitor crucial infrastructure such as water treatment plants, reservoirs, and distribution networks. This deficiency in network coverage obstructs the collection of precise data concerning water quality, consumption patterns, and system performance—information essential for informed decision-making and adherence to regulatory requirements. 

Furthermore, black spots impede the adoption of advanced technologies and smart systems in the water utilities industry across the globe. These technologies, including Internet of Things (IoT) devices and sensors, depend on seamless connectivity to gather real-time data, facilitating process automation and optimisation. The existence of black spots hinders the deployment and efficacy of such technologies, curtailing the industry from fully capitalising on their advantages, such as enhanced efficiency, reduced water loss, and improved customer service. 

Additionally, black spots in network coverage adversely affect communication channels between water utilities companies, field personnel, and customers on a global scale. Fieldworkers struggle to stay connected and transmit data back to central systems, potentially resulting in delays in maintenance and repair activities. Customers residing in areas with black spots encounter difficulties in reporting issues or accessing essential information, thereby undermining the overall customer experience. 

Smarter Technologies’ solution: Orion, The Real-time Data Network 

Orion provides a comprehensive solution to address the persistent issue of black spots in network coverage, offering significant alleviation of the challenges tied to limited network connectivity in the water utilities industry. 

Orion introduces a groundbreaking approach to network coverage by offering a low-power, ultra-narrow-band LPWAN network. It functions as a “network in a box,” with base stations (referred to as gateways) managing all software, devices, and real-time API interfaces. These gateways serve as communication hubs, facilitating the transmission of data from sensors deployed in various locations. 

Orion is a straightforward, plug-and-play solution. Simply power a device, and it seamlessly joins the low-power, long-range digital data network. The gateways listen, enabling your tags and sensors to report on the location and status of nearly any asset, with updates every two minutes when static and every thirty seconds when in motion. These Orion gateways can be either mobile or static, and they can be powered via mains, batteries, or solar energy. Sensors can be retrofitted or integrated into existing equipment. 

These low-power radio sensors enable efficient and dependable data collection, monitoring, and management. With its robust and scalable infrastructure, Orion provides widespread coverage and connectivity, facilitating real-time access to critical information, streamlining operations, and enabling informed decision-making. Notably, Orion has already been adopted in 37 countries and has been utilised by governments and major corporations for mission-critical services worldwide. 

By integrating Orion into the existing infrastructure of the water utilities industry, we can attain seamless and dependable network connectivity, eliminating black spots and ensuring efficient communication and data transmission across all operational areas. 

Key features and advantages of Orion  

Outstanding Coverage 

Orion goes beyond signal limitations, ensuring connectivity even in remote, underserved areas, underground locations, and through concrete walls and floors. By leveraging an array of Orion gateways, this network offers ubiquitous access, eradicating black spots, even within buildings or properties. 

High-Speed Data Transmission 

With advanced wireless communication technologies, Orion enables high-speed data transmission, enabling real-time monitoring, data collection, and remote management. This capability enhances the industry’s capacity to respond promptly to emergencies, identify and resolve issues, and optimise resource allocation. 

Reliable and Resilient Connectivity 

Orion guarantees reliable and resilient connectivity, minimising disruptions caused by environmental factors or infrastructure constraints. With multiple gateways and redundant systems, this network ensures uninterrupted communication channels, critical for maintaining operational continuity and minimising downtime. 

Secure and Encrypted Data Transfer 

Orion employs state-of-the-art encryption protocols and robust security measures, safeguarding sensitive data transmitted within the water utilities industry. This ensures the integrity and confidentiality of exchanged information, mitigating risks associated with data breaches or unauthorised access. 

Real-Time Data and Decarbonisation 

Orion plays a pivotal role in enabling decarbonisation plans for all utilities companies and the industry at large. By connecting gas, water, and electricity meters, or utilising Smarter Technologies’ advanced metering infrastructure, Orion provides real-time energy data. This data is accessible through our platform, SmarterView, or via APIs for integration into other front-end systems. 

Scalable and Future-Proof Solution 

Orion offers a scalable solution adaptable to evolving needs within the water utilities industry. As technologies advance and requirements change, this network can incorporate new functionalities, ensuring a future-proof infrastructure that supports long-term growth and innovation. The system can be expanded limitlessly by adding more sensors and gateways, facilitating not only the elimination of black spots but also the addition of data points for all utilities and energy consumption. 

Smarter Technologies’ Orion network provides a transformative solution to tackle network coverage challenges in the water utilities industry. Its exceptional features and advantages empower water utilities companies to enhance their operations, eliminate black spots, and ensure uninterrupted communication and data transmission. By embracing Orion, the water utilities industry can step into a future marked by efficiency, reliability, and innovation. 

Contact us today to see how Orion™ The Real-Time Data Network can benefit your business.

Our experts are on-hand to advise you on the most efficient and cost-effective smart technology solutions for your business’ needs.

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