Smart metering solutions: VIVAQUA contributes to the European project SMART.MET
The aim of the SMART.MET project, led by a group of 7 European water utilities, is to drive the development of new technologies to deal with the collection and management of smart metering data, through a joint Pre-Commercial Procurement (PCP) divided into three phases: Phase 1 focusing on a solution exploration and design (done), Phase 2, focusing on developing operational prototype of the solution (done), and the Phase 3 on ground testing solutions, that is starting now.
On March 27, 2020, the SMART.MET consortium announced the three companies that had successfully and satisfactorily completed the Phase 2 execution and were thus considered eligible to compete for the Phase 3 contract awarding involving the ‘testing’ stage of smart metering solutions. The consortium launched the call for tenders of Phase 3 on June 10, 2020, with an updated calendar adapted to the COVID-19 context.
Following the completion of Phase 1 and 2 – involving the submission of a proof of concept and subsequent development of a prototype – three out of the four initial contractors succeeded in demonstrating the functionality of their innovative technological solutions for water smart metering, as well as the validity of the prototypes in all their components: meter, communication infrastructure and control systems. The three economic operators invited to bid are:
- Dynamic Consulting, Abering Contadores de Agua, Gomez Group Metering(Spain)
- Hydroko, Ng(Belgium)
- Telereading (Italy)
The above mentioned economic operators have proposed significant innovative smart metering solutions based on new intelligent machines systems aiming at improving water utilities metering needs. According to the proposed solutions, water utilities should be able to obtain accurate real-time metering data which will lead to the improvement of network management with regard to detection of leaks, optimisation of the amount of supplied water, and improved better-tailored customer service. The economic operators have paid special attention to data security by proposing to incorporate cybersecurity and encryption systems into the meters’ data transmission system. This will ensure that access to collected data is strictly limited and protected.
The features and functionalities of the smart-meter prototypes are going to be tested during this final phase in five different sites that represent a diversity of urban, rural or mixed sites, and where the water utilities which compose the buyers’ group operate: region of Sélestat (France), Vicenza (Italy), Zafra (Spain), Liège and Herstal (Belgium), and Budapest (Hungary).
About SMART.MET (PCP for Water Smart Metering)
SMART.MET (PCP for Water Smart Metering) is a European project funded under the Horizon 2020 research programme launched in 2017. The SMART.MET project aims at promoting demand-driven research into the development of new innovative smart meter solutions that fully cater to the needs of water utilities.
Smart water metering presents itself as an effective solution to the challenges faced by the majority of European water utilities today, from extreme events induced by climate change to the need to replace ageing infrastructure. Indeed, providing access to accurate data in real-time can help decrease operating costs and prioritise infrastructure investments, while improving the daily management of networks and customer services
Pre-Commercial Procurement (PCP) concerns the procurement of research and development services. It is a unique instrument to foster competition for the development of high quality and alternative solutions whilst providing an adapted answer to common needs and opening new markets for companies.
The buyers’ group is composed of seven water utilities from five different EU countries, including VIVAQUA and the Compagnie Intercommunale Liégeoise des Eaux (CILE) in Belgium, which came together in the SMART.MET project to guide the development of new technologies based on open technological platforms for the remote reading of water meters.
This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 731996.