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IoT in smart meters

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IoT smart meters changing the energy sector

Throughout the years, the concept of “smart” objects has been widely adopted across a wide range of conversations, perspectives, ideas, and practical applications. There is no doubt that the Internet of Things (IoT) has played a key role in the ever-growing popularity of the term.

Generally, IoT is the technology responsible for the creation of networks that connect electronic devices and users. In other words, IoT acts as a communication channel for items and users, while providing smart features such as real-time monitoring and ongoing tracking, by utilising devices and sensors according to the users’ needs.

As a result, more and more smart applications are emerging, using IoT as their operational basis. One of the most interesting examples is smart metering, used for accurate real-time monitoring of environmental conditions and data collection related to energy, water, or gas consumption, etc.

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How do IoT smart energy meters work?

M2M SIM equipped smart metering devices can be used for multiple purposes:

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 They can monitor environmental conditions and the consumption of energy, water, gas, and heat (either as part of a smart home system, industrial application, or independent machine).

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They can analyse collected data in order to optimise existing systems, making them more sustainable by detecting damages and promoting circular economy characteristics e.g. waste elimination.

A basic smart metering architecture consists of two main layers or technologies, metering and communication. Both of these layers are connected with necessary IoT modules that support and enable IoT smart meters to comminicate e.g. controllers, sensing devices, encoding mechanisms for data protection, and programmed timers.

Sensing devices collect the consumer’s data related to the number of resources spent and bill them through timestamps. That number is depicted on a digital screen for the user, and the data is sent to the device owner’s provider. A smart meter can also be programmed to adjust consumption according to the user’s habits in order to reduce expense and increase efficiency. Both layers are connected to an Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI), allowing for both manual and automated control of the device, and enabling the two layers to communicate with each other and their modules (through state-of-the-art protocols).

One of the most significant IoT communication protocols is Machine-to-Machine (M2M). M2M is commonly used for devices to exchange data through Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) mechanisms, without the need for human intervention. In the specific case of smart metering, M2M technologies support utility companies to receive the user’s data in real-time.

What are some of the IoT smart metering benefits?

  • They detect errors and proceed with restoration actions (downloading patches/requesting servicing etc.)

  • They have smart features that help clients to control their consumption, delivering increased operational efficiencies through real-time data analysis.
  • They can be programmed to assist utility companies in providing only the necessary number of resources while limiting wastage.
  • They help to maintain users’ privacy since M2M is used for exclusive data exchange between clients and providers.
  • They provide accurate billing of consumed energy due to smart sensing devices and timestamps.
  • Depending on the smart meter and provider, the device can be programmed to depict real-time billing for the amount of resources consumed

An example of IoT smart metering

More recently, smart meter roll-outs have become very popular, especially in the UK and even more importantly during high energy prices. A household can choose to replace their manual meters with a smart meter that monitors data for water, gas, and electricity consumption. The consumption can be adapted automatically according to the household’s daily routines through real-time monitoring while decreasing unnecessary costs.

Moreover, when an error is detected, a notification is sent to the client, either on a smartphone or other personal device, with the provider sending for the restoration of service.

User benefits of installing smart meter technology to manage energy

  • Many people can get a smart meter installed by their service provider free of charge.
  • Increased awareness as to the cost of running items, such as central heating.
  • No need for physical meter readings.
  • Easy bill monitoring.

Supplier benefits of installing smart meter technology

Suppliers can also benefit from their customers installing smart meters. Benefits include:

  • Increased awareness and trend forecasting for demand using smart grid technologies.
  • Improved customer service.
  • Remote device management with M2M SIMs to help with issues.

IoT smart meters will take over the world!

IoT has been one of the most utilised technologies of the last decades, due to its massive capabilities and smart features. Moreover, its ongoing evolution and reduction in costs has been a key enabler for a number of application fields, such as smart metering.

Smart metering systems are a valuable replacement for their manual predecessors, since users are in more control of how many resources they consume. And as smart meter deployment continues to increase, many people are putting their benefits into practice. After all, such appliances enhance the overall technological evolution of our society, playing an important role in the rising of smart cities, and a smarter world in general.

If you’re looking for SIMs to power your IoT devices, get a free consultation to try one of our M2M SIM cards.