Water-link to use tomorrow’s technology today

A joint venture between ENGIE Fabricom and the Belgian company Hydroko has been selected to develop and install the first intelligent water meters in the country.

Antwerp water company water-link has signed a concession agreement for the installation of smart water meters in Antwerp, a first in Belgium.

This innovative project will begin as a pilot, with the installation of 1,000 smart meters for a period planned over one year. If this pilot project is evaluated as being positive, a total of 205,000 smart meters will be installed over a period of 3 to 4 years. More specifically, that means all Antwerp’s residents will be served with smart meters by the end of 2020.

It will allow water meters to be read remotely every day using the wireless network installed and managed in Belgium by ENGIE M2M. This network is based on the global SIGFOX connectivity system for the Internet of Things.

This alliance of forces is being created within the group, so it includes various areas of expertise such as, for example, the integration of technical solutions and SIGFOX technology.

For ENGIE Fabricom, this project reflects an evolution in terms of skills, as well as diversification and the use of new technologies.

How does a smart meter work?

Every water meter is fitted with a smart digital system and a telecommunications module. This allows it to transmit data wirelessly over the SIGFOX network to a Hydroko application, which can then be used by water-link. Communication is 2-way, so the smart meter can also receive data and instructions from the application.

The SIGFOX network is a global Internet of Things network, the aim of which is to link all kinds of devices or objects with an application via the internet. In Belgium, this network is being rolled out and managed by ENGIE M2M, a subsidiary of the ENGIE Group.

The data sent by the water meter is analyzed and processed by water-link, which enables the company to quickly detect and solve any technical problems, such as leaks. Water-link is therefore able to respond quickly and, if necessary, either send a technician to resolve the problem on the spot or send corrective instructions to the meter remotely.

A sustainable solution

The launch of smart meters will allow more sustainable management and control of water consumption by users.

The installation of these water meters offers a number of advantages: more comfort for users who no longer have to be physically present in their homes for meter readings, permanent monitoring and analysis of consumption, the possibility of water supplies being disconnected at a distance in the event of a leak, etc.

Source: Engie Fabricom website 23/06/2016