ZENNER develops smart measuring instruments for the Internet of Things

The German measuring instrument manufacturer ZENNER develops smart water meters, heat meters and heat cost allocators for the Internet of Things. When used comprehensively they allow the reading of consumer data for water, heat, gas and electricity for an entire city in minutes.

Intensive work is currently being undertaken in many countries on infrastructure for the Internet of Things in the form of wireless networks, for example in France, Belgium and The Netherlands and now also in Germany. The necessary network coverage is to be available in more than 100 countries worldwide by 2020.

Energy consumption measurement is one area in which the Internet of Things will come to fruition comprehensively around the world. The consumption data for water, heat, gas and electricity will soon be read in many places using stationary wireless networks with long ranges, in minutes and over large distances. One of the network technologies used in the Internet of Things is LPWAN. LPWAN stands for Low Power Wide Area Network.

This technology is particularly suited to the reading of battery-operated equipment such as wireless water meters, wireless heat meters, wireless heat cost allocators and wireless smoke detectors. Energy consumption in wireless transmission via the LPWAN network is minimal and the lifespan of the battery is maximized. In coming years corresponding LPWAN networks are to be developed around the world in more than 100 countries.

The Internet of Things offers enormous opportunities and potential savings for communal utility companies in the areas of gas, water and electricity as well as in many other sectors.

The housing sector and metering service companies in particular, who are concerned with billing per household in accordance with consumption, can profit from the Internet of Things as it is not only possible to use the LPWAN network to read consumption meters simply and at almost any frequency, but also to read different smart home devices such as temperature sensors and wireless smoke detectors. This also allows faults, defects or attempted manipulation to be recognized promptly.

Zenner, one of the leading global manufacturers in the areas of water meters, heat meters, gas meters, heat cost allocation and smoke detectors, is certain that a large proportion of smart metering will move onto the Internet of Things in the future. Accordingly they have already been working for some time on the development of new wireless models that allow the integration of meters and devices into LPWAN networks.

In the development of smart LPWAN solutions for the Internet of Things Zenner is relying on the internationally increasingly established communication standard LoRaWAN™. LoRaWAN™ was developed by the LoRa® Alliance, an international non-profit organization with the declared aim of establishing LoRaWAN™ as the communication standard for the Internet of Things.

By mid-2016 the new technology will have been added to the entire wireless portfolio and all wireless modules will have been developed correspondingly. From April 2016 onwards Zenner will also be an official member of the LoRa® Alliance.

Alexander Lehmann, Managing Director of Zenner International GmbH & Co. KG explained the benefit of LPWAN-Technology to the user: "Up to now the primary systems used for remote meter reading were walk-by or drive-by systems with some fixed network solutions. However, now the use of the wide-ranging technology LoRa® allows low-cost and really fixed-network remote reading of thousands of consumption measurement instruments. Communication between meters and devices via the Internet of Things also means that meters can be read more often, faster and at a lower cost. Up to now individual meters (e.g. meters in shafts) were complicated to read. Now this can also be realized using LPWAN."