The outsourcing of physical and operational aspects of a smart metering system to third parties, a model known as managed services, has been growing in popularity over the past decade. At the most basic level, managed services can be Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), in which software applications that support advanced metering infrastructure BALANCE (AMI) are cloud hosted by the vendor and used on a subscription-basis.
In more comprehensive service agreements, operational responsibility for the AMI system is also entrusted to a vendor in what is called Smart Metering-as-a-Service (SMaaS). At the end of the spectrum, full managed services – often called Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) – is the complete delivery of AMI as a service, including the leasing of physical infrastructure which remains owned by the vendor.
Service-based solutions confront many of the challenges that are encountered in smart meter deployments. Entrusting data to a highly competent third-party vendor usually provides more security than can be accomplished by the utility alone. Deployment time can be cut in half when IT infrastructure is hosted in the cloud, while in-house staff does not need to be trained to operate the complex new systems. Service-based offerings convert costs from an upfront capital investment to a recurring operational expense. Utilities focus less on collecting meter readings and more on extracting the full value from the data.
SMaaS и IaaS open the doors to those utility companies, such as water utilities, who can’t make a large initial investment. These small companies, compared to electricity suppliers, do not have the economic benefit that results from the large-scale deployment of the accounting system. In fact, they borrow economic benefits from the amount of large-scale projects of the “Service” vendor.
Utilities around the world are increasingly using fixed communication networks and solutions for advanced measurement infrastructure (AMI) – similar to the BALANCE accounting system. According to the report, three quarters of meters installed in 2023 will use a fixed network.
The Service Provider has an idea of where the industry is heading, as utility companies that are going to use the BALANCE accounting system can do this in the most efficient manner and how those companies that have completed the deployment of the system can get the most out of their investments.
Reduction in the price of the connection due to the multichannel radio module D100FC allowing to connect up to 4 meters, increasing the value of these measurements by adding daily and hourly balance sheets increase the possibility of deploying the BALANCE accounting system on small utilities and water utilities.
Applications BALANCE for the operational control of 30 (15) minutes of balance on main distribution networks to common metering devices, as well as control of water pressure and the presence of voltage on pump motors in near real time, allows many times to reduce the response time to emergency situations and many times reduce losses on backbone networks.
WEB access for the customer, reduction of the amount of unallocated water (NRW), meter data management (MDM), billing automation, data reliability control and leak detection increases efficiency and reduces utilities costs.
Communal enterprises operating on the basis of the business model SMaaS and IaaS do not need to become hostages of equipment, technologies, software, buying them, they will not be able to operate them normally. Even if they succeed, there is no guarantee that tomorrow this equipment and technologies will not stop working, or the production of this line of equipment will cease or the software will not be accompanied.
Using the BALANCE accounting system guarantees the customer 100% data acquisition, developed analytics, constantly developed functionality to meet the current and future requirements of the utility.