In most areas of the United States, smart meters are used on homes, commercial properties, offices, businesses and on public and government buildings. These meters, just like “smart” phones, have the ability to collect data and transmit that data.
However, unlike smartphones, a smart meter only sends data, it is not set up to receive data and cannot be controlled or changed through transmission from remote water meter reading system to the meter. A single signal can be sent to alert the meter to send data, but that is all.
With a smart meter in place, it is possible for the utility or property owner to keep monitoring water meters, setting up notifications with atypical usage that may indicate a leak, system problem or a failure in the meter.
With the use of a smart meter and a remote water meter reading system, customers can be billed for the specific usage at the meter at the time of billing. This avoids the problems of estimates and adjustments or the need to pay “meter readers” to travel to manually record the data off of each meter.
How They Work
In most cases, a remote water meter reading system will work from radio frequency (RF) or on Wi-Fi, although there are other options including handheld devices to provide the reading.
The smart meter will transmit the signal which includes a digital string that contains the meter serial number and the usage. This can be on the prompt from the system or in a continual stream or at a specific pre-set time on the system.
Wi-Fi meters are not actually Wi-Fi, it is just the data transmits on the 802.11b/g protocol. These are narrow bandwidth signals that can travel a long distance to receivers that decode the short bandwidth message into Wi-Fi packets. This option is not commonly used, but the RF version typically is the go-to option in most installation projects.
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