RealSens™: The automated utility meter reading system that makes, well, Real Sense 

For utility providers and resellers, water and electricity meters are the cash register of the utility supply chain. They also ensure that tenants are fairly billed and consumption is managed.

But meter readings need to be regular, accurate and reliable – and that’s not always possible. Lack of access to properties, vicious dogs, inability to locate meters, faulty meters and incompetent or indifferent meter readers all thwart accurate meter reading and subsequent billing.

Automated meter reading (AMR)– so-called “smart” technology – has been around for a while but in many cases it’s neither fully automated, nor smart. Then there’s RealSens™, a proprietary technology wholly developed by Reonet, which is both.

RealSens™ is more properly described as an advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) system because not only can it remotely receive data from utility meters, it can also transmit instructions to meters.

It automates several processes in the utility distribution chain, such as meter reading and billing, load shedding, service suspension and reconnection, outage and leak detection, pipe burst and reservoir level detection, maintenance team alarm call-outs and scheduling, pollution spillage detection and reporting, asset management, infrastructure refurbishment planning and regulatory reporting.

So what is RealSens™, really?

RealSens™ is, in itself, not a metering system. It is a fully automated, wireless data collection and communications network that piggybacks on an existing metering system, improving utility processes at low cost and with the minimum of human interference.

It also allows for the remote management and configuration of individual utility meters, such as telling them when to report utility usage data or to send alerts to possible leaks or unauthorised usage of utilities.

This is how RealSens™ works:

  • A RealSens™ Meter Interface Unit (MIU) plugs into any AMR-clompliant utility meter
  • The MIU transmits readings at predetermined intervals to a RealSens™ Repeater
  • Data packages are “hopped” through more Repeaters to a RealSens™ Gateway device, a type of router
  • Using cellphone networks, the data is sent to a cloud-based, secure MySQL database, where it is analysed and converted into useful information by Reonet’s ReoPort utilities reporting platform

Because RealSens™ employs a “plug and play”-type methodology, installers do not require specific technical expertise. They simply attach the RealSens™ MIU to individual utility meters, and the network and routing can be remotely configured and altered.

Unlike other AMR systems, which use local concentrators to collect and store data for later transmission, RealSens™ Gateways are fully bidirectional GSM devices and thus not only receive information from MIUs; they can also relay instructions from the RealSens™ server via the Repeaters to individual MIUs connected to meters. And there is no theoretical limit to the number of meters that can connect to a single RealSens™ Gateway.

RealSens™ specifically differs from other AMR and AMI systems in that it was not developed for the in-home or industrial automation markets, or even to be an improved meter reading system (such as walk-by or drive-by systems, which are semi-automated). RealSens™ is a fully automated, configurable meter reading system that requires minimal human intervention, and can be managed completely remotely.

RealSens™ advantages

  • It is a rigorously tested and field-proven technology, employed in all types of installation environments for all types of utilities
  • It eliminates issues such as lack of access to properties, estimated billing, faulty meters and human error
  • It is the lowest-cost system on the market to install, operate and maintain
  • It is the most reliable data collection and management system available, designed for maximum reliability, flexibility and ease of installation, use and maintenance
  • The Global Utility Metering Protocol (GUMP), the communication protocol used by RealSens™, ensures best-in-class radio transmission, longer battery life, reduced installation costs and, critically, data security
  • A secure data hosting service, which means you will never lose valuable data
  • RealSens™ stores data in an open MySQL database, which means system configuration can be done from a central server or an authorised web interface. This holds many advantages
  • Our RealSens™ experts will help you make the most of the system, including:
    • Developing customised automated reporting
    • Providing a secure web interface
    • Integrating the open MySQL database with back-office systems
    • Providing automated alarm messages (for leaks, outages, unauthorised usage, etc.) to PCs, smartphones or tablets
    • Comprehensive audit and monitoring of energy efficiency and CO2 reduction programmes
    • Enhanced service delivery through support by our financial, legal and technical utility specialists

True smart utility metering will maximise automation, eliminate common issues, unlock massive savings, and promote end user goodwill through fair and timely billing.

There is only one system that promises – and delivers – all of this, and more. That’s RealSens™.

You can view the RealSens™ datasheet here.