Why Utilities are choosing Smart LoRaWAN® connectivity

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WHY UTILITIES ARE CHOOSING SMART LoRaWAN ® CONNECTIVITY www.lora-alliance.org Similarly to the electricity industry, there are several different, clearly defined areas within electricity supply to be addressed. Primary smart water metering relates directly to a water utility's network and provides vital insight into how its distribution network is operating and enables individual customers to be billed. Smart sub-metering is focused on the reseller and building administration market, which is interested in dividing the individual end users' consumption of a building, as well as the monitoring of water and/or energy consumption per usage. In addition to these two key differences, water utilities are looking for functionality beyond simple monitoring of information. Some want to achieve remote control of the water pipeline network not only to gain insight into pressure and flow but also to find leakages and control them. There are many examples of this being done successfully where water meters are used to uncover leakages. There are strong opportunities for water utilities to make rapid advances, catch up and accelerate beyond the achievements made by electricity utilities in the journey to becoming smart. The situation is analogous to the telephony market in Africa. The African continent was well behind the rest of the world in terms of fixed line telephony density, but it took the opportunity to adopt the latest generation of wireless technology, thereby getting cheaper and ubiquitous connectivity very rapidly. Water utilities can follow the same model by adopting LoRaWAN and jump ahead of the electricity industry which faces greater complexity, as detailed below. ELECTRICITY The International Energy Agency has reported that energy demand worldwide grew by 2.3% in 2018, its fastest pace in the past decade 1 . Global electricity demand grew by 4% in 2018 to more than 23,000 TWh. The gap between the promise of energy for all and the lack of electricity access for 850 million people around the world is also placing pressure on electricity utilities which will exacerbate with the uptake of electric vehicles (EVs). 2 EV sales are set to reach 44 million vehicles per year by 2030 3 and the demand of users recharging these will place significant additional management burdens on power grids to ensure brown-outs do not occur. Of course, at the same time, electricity providers are moving away from burning fossil fuels to generate electricity and shifting to renewables such as wind and solar power. These present further challenges since generation capability is dependent on weather patterns and is therefore less predictable. In addition, consumers are increasingly becoming generators as well as users of electricity and therefore greater integration, data and insights are required into micro-generation and individual consumption habits. Although electricity utilities have been earlier adopters of smart metering, the generation, transportation and distribution of electricity have quite different requirements and are often addressed and owned by different companies. So, even if these are well interconnected, there are separate motivations and drivers within the electricity sector that smart electricity initiatives need to take into account. An electricity production company needs accurate data every 15 or 30 minutes from end-user customers in order to determine the required amount of electricity to generate to fulfil market demands and to balance the electricity grid. The goal of this demand-side management is to encourage the consumer to use less energy during peak hours, or to move the time of energy use to off-peak times such as nighttime and weekends. Electricity companies look for intentional modifications to consumption patterns of electricity of end user customers that are intended to alter the timing, level of instantaneous demand, or the total electricity consumption. However, these data come from prosumers that are often managed by different distribution companies so the entire electricity industry is challenged to interconnect and integrate data from all end users involved in order to get an accurate picture of consumption and demand. GAS Gas consumption is also becoming more tightly controlled as companies look to more environmentally friendly alternatives. This is reflected in the continued focus on renewable energy since the United Nations 4 announced that major changes would be needed across the world to limit the effects of climate change. Consistent with this, it has recommended a 45% cut in carbon emissions by 2030. The gas industry, in contrast to electricity, remains relatively straightforward. No consumers generate gas, for example, and gas itself can be more easily stored to be available when demand occurs. However, gas has some similarities

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