Deer Technology has launched the LimpetReader which enables analogue water meters to be converted to smart meters, simply and cost-effectively. This ingenious device offers substantial benefits to water wholesalers, water retailers, asset managers and consumers. Within the UK non-household water market there are circa 1 million dumb meters 1 that could be easily converted to smart meters using Deer Technology’s patented LimpetReader system.
Analogue meters are converted by retrofitting a compact, battery-powered LimpetReader above the meter dial using optical adhesive bonds. Installation typically takes 15 minutes or less, with no need to interrupt the supply. A clear optical path is always maintained between the optical reader and meter. The waterproof adhesive bond ensures the readings can be taken even if the meter is submerged in water or mud. If necessary, the meter can still be read manually without disturbing the LimpetReader.
To ensure the LimpetReader’s overall envelope is extremely compact, the opto-electronic device uses multiple micro-cameras to capture date- and time-stamped images of the meter’s register. These are sent automatically to Deer Technology’s secure servers using GSM technology over any of the UK’s established mobile phone networks. Once on the server, the individual images are stitched together with image processing software to create a single, distortion-free register image. This is converted to a numerical value for the water consumption.
The LimpetReader is already in use with several customers across the UK and is supplying data that is helping customers to better manage water consumption, improve their environmental credentials and reduce costs. Work is also underway to secure full regulatory approval for the device and this is expected to be completed soon.
From the water wholesaler’s or retailer’s perspective, the LimpetReader offers multiple benefits. Most significantly, the availability of accurate billing information without the need to take visual reads, which is often expensive and could be difficult to undertake. In addition, there are environmental benefits associated with not having to use vehicles to visit meters, and health and safety is improved through the elimination of site visits. LimpetReaders also put an end to fines for failing to read meters, and highly detailed water consumption data is always available. Customer satisfaction and retention are improved because there is no need to rely on estimates and billing is accurate.
Customers benefit from having access to their meter reading so they can validate the bills they receive and identify any billing errors based on near real-time data and an image of the actual meter reading not estimates. They also have better visibility of consumption data, which can be used to identify areas of waste and give an early warning of leaks. Building owners can implement LimpetReader technology for sub-metering and billing tenants on a daily basis if desired.
Deer Technology’s comprehensive service includes consulting with customers – who could be water wholesalers, water retailers, asset managers or consumers – to identify the optimum overall solution to the problem of meter reads and data management. The company then installs the LimpetReaders and provides a data service for reporting, visualisation and exporting data to the customer’s databases as required.
The National Trust, an early adopter, said: “The LimpetReader is a great solution and gives us accurate meter reads and, importantly, we are only paying for what we use.”