Vodafone launches IoT technology for utilities

By Dominic Ellis
New Vodafone IoT solution - which is device and technology agnostic - offers a single data management platform for utilities

Vodafone has launched a new IoT-based technology to help water companies improve monitoring and detection systems, increase efficiency, reduce wastage, and meet regulatory requirements.

The new solution - which is device and technology agnostic - offers a single data management platform that integrates old and new sensors in one system to dramatically increase operational efficiency.

One of the major challenges for the water industry is the need to prolong the life of legacy monitoring systems installed over the last 30 years, while becoming more efficient and meeting new targets.

After years of market consolidation, data is often trapped on separate systems that do not talk to each other and often have incompatible technical standards. This has resulted in the water industry facing significant overheads and operational inefficiencies, due to the increasing cost of managing disparate technologies that are too expensive and disruptive to replace with modern equivalents.

Vodafone gives water companies every element of an IoT solution, including devices, connectivity, data management and ongoing service:

  • Devices Vodafone will procure new devices and sensors, including smart meters and data loggers, as well as integrate existing devices into a single management platform
  • Connectivity Vodafone’s narrowband IoT (NB-IoT) coverage now reaches 98% of the UK geography
  • Data management There is a single platform that allows the user to manage all devices, both new and legacy, and integrate all data sets. Data from all devices is securely acquired, orchestrated, stored, analysed and visualised
  • Service Ongoing advice and collaboration is provided to ensure customers get the greatest value from their IoT deployment, and the quickest possible return on their investment

The technology is simple to deploy and manage, allowing water companies to increase the level of surveillance and telemetry on networks to meet important regulatory and environmental standards, while ensuring greater efficiency and reduced wastage.

Anne Sheehan, Business Director, Vodafone UK said there is growing demand from UK water companies to increase efficiency and reduce wastage.

"We’ve worked closely with the water industry to identify a common problem and develop a simple solution," she said. "The platform has been designed with simplicity in mind – you do not have to be a connectivity expert to benefit from IoT. We are making it as easy as possible to ensure water companies can benefit from cutting edge technology and connectivity to meet important regulatory and environmental standards.”

Damian Crawford, Head of Smart Networks and Leakage at Stantec, believes Vodafone’s smart water proposition is a "game-changer" for the water industry. 

"While there is ample variety of water network telemetry equipment on the market, Vodafone can be unique in providing the water industry with one full end-to-end secure solution that is device agnostic, removing supplier lock-in and maximising existing assets. Vodafone’s innovative solution has set a benchmark for the UK water industry, with the aim to deliver excellent service for water companies and their customers," he said.

The new solution for the water industry follows the completion of a project to double the amount of NB-IoT sites. For those areas that are not covered by the NB- IoT network today, Vodafone will work with customers to upgrade and add infrastructure on a case-by-case basis. NB-IoT is designed for use cases which require devices with long-life batteries and in locations that might be difficult for traditional mobile connectivity to reach, such as underground water pipes. Customers can find out more about IoT in utilities here.

Goodix Technology today released its first NB-IoT system-on-chip (SoC) solution - the GR851x series that fully supports 3GPP Rel-14 and Rel-15 standards. Integrating an ultra-low power OpenCPU application system, it provides a competitive cellular IoT solution for diverse application scenarios, such as smart cities, consumer electronics, industry 4.0, and smart agriculture.

Claro Enterprise Solutions has launched RTLS+, an IoT-enabled suite of real-time location solutions that addresses critical business problems related to identifying, analysing and tracking assets and equipment. Leveraging a Cloud-based platform that integrates advanced AI, ML, video analytics, location tracking, ID and network technologies, RTLS+ enables detailed oversight of a wide range of business assets, operations and activity. 

The Cellular IoT Market is projected to grow from US$3.9 billion in 2021 to US$15.4 billion by 2027, according to MarketsandMarkets forecasts.


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