Safaricom is currently testing the new smart meter and Narrow band technology.
Early last year, Safaricom introduced the concept at the Development convention. The innovation was based around the company’s Narrow band-IoT Network, Ultrasonic metering and real time data transfer.
How it works
The device is capable of monitoring the real time consumption of water. Water monitoring basically helps to establish a water provider’s water balance and usage.
It also helps to determine how much water is collected from rivers, boreholes and dams actually make it into the customer’s meter.
After the concept development, this year, a team set out to Embu County to meter various consumers of one of the countries’ most successful water utilities, Embu Water and Sanitation Company (EWASCO)
The main objective of the trial project is to relay real time data using Safaricom’s Narrow Band IoT Network.
20 devices were set up and linked to the Microsoft azure cloud with real time mapping and analytics. All powered by Esri Easter Africa’s ArcGIS Platform.
Benefits of using the smart meter
- It detects changes in household water consumption.
- It also enhances the response of the Kenyan water sector to the covid-19 pandemic.
- Reduces labour and logistics incurred during manual meter reading
- Enables real time billing
- Helps in identification of faults and leaks.
- Reduction in water loss.
Safaricom said that by utilizing IoT devices, the consortia of Safaricom, Upepo and Esri can provide real time information on water consumption to a water company. This can be used in enhancing the country’s water utility operations.
“The aim is to achieve greater value and service. We will do this by exchanging data on water consumption at the household, zonal, distribution and abstraction level for water metering across the country.” Said the Managing Director at Upepo Technology Ltd, Kevin Kihara.
Safaricom also notes that the smart water meters will send SMS alerts when tampered with, for example, if someone opens up the meter body.
Kenyans have periodically expressed their frustration towards the water regulation bodies especially for households in Nairobi.
Water usage accountability has always been a sore subject with some incurring inflated bills even in areas where they experience water shortages.
The smart water meter might help achieve accuracy and effect changes in the water sector should it be adopted correctly.