We are expanding our business with Smart Energy and Water Solutions
May 25, 2020 - Peter Kobal

For more than seven decades, Iskraemeco has been delivering quality products, solutions, and services in the demanding field of energy management, but we are constantly exploring new opportunities for growth and development.

We interviewed Peter Kobal, Iskraemeco’s Director of Smart Energy and Water Solutions, about our solutions in the field of smart energy and water solutions market.

Growth and development are key to any business. What is next and what is the focus now for Iskraemeco?

This year we established the team for Smart Energy and Smart Water Solutions.
When creating the solutions, we kept in mind that they should meet countless market demands now and in the upcoming future by giving companies tools to shape the future of energy and water management in the fast-pace digitalized world.
As a leading smart metering products and solutions provider (smart meters and smart metering software), Iskraemeco will complement its existing portfolio with new business models and new markets -water, gas utilities, district heating and cooling and sub-metering.

How was the idea of smart energy and water solutions formed?

Focusing on meeting market needs and answering modern challenges, we are constantly expanding our expertise in new markets. In the past, we addressed water and gas utilities and district heating and cooling systems only indirectly through our dual-fuel and multi-utility concepts of electricity smart metering. Energy market deregulation, energy efficiency initiatives and new energy services, emphasize the importance of sub-metering in multitenant buildings, commercial zones and industrial parks. The new team will come up with a robust portfolio of smart solutions designed to meet the requirements of new customers from the energy and water utilities and sub-metering markets. Digitalized solutions based on the Internet of Things (IoT) provide the necessary tools to manage energy and water use, anticipate demand, collect revenue and optimize costs. It also helps consumers act more proactively and sustainably, while significantly lowering their utility bills.

Iskraemeco has extensive experience in electricity, but what were the reasons and triggers behind it starting and launching smart water solutions?

Every drop of water is precious for the planet and for the future of life as we know it. Water demand is increasing asthe population grows. Clean and affordable water is of the greatest importance for people. We need water to sustain our lives, for sanitation, hygiene, and food production. Water conservation and reduction of non-revenue water (NRW) are the key concerns of water utilities across Europe and worldwide. The growth of residential static metering (ultrasonic) remains one of the most interesting technology stories to follow. Today, more than 80% of residential water meters are still mechanical. IoT communication has become the key focus of smart water meters. Low Power Wide Area Network (LPWAN) technologies are being widely explored. Water utilities are increasingly adopting digital analytics platforms enabled by smart water meters and metering solutions. The data gathered are used to detect leaks, assess and predict consumption patterns in real-time, and optimize water resources. By knowing and understanding technologies and market demands, we are forming our Smart Water Solutions.

These give water utilities better control over their network through:
Accurate metering in all water sources, district metered zones (DMA) and end-customer consumption points by deploying different types of water measuring technologies – mechanical (single-jet, multi-jet, positive displacement and Woltmann meters) and static (ultrasonic, electromagnetic).
Reduction in real water losses: leakage detection and reduction. Proactive monitoring and pinpointing of small leaks before significant damage is caused, as well as reductions of apparent losses: detection of meter under-registrations, data-handling errors, theft of water.
Operational excellence by introducing an efficient workforce and asset management. This means better maintenance and faster repairs, efficient asset management, as well as achievement of higher levels of operational efficiency and productivity for utility assets, and optimization of daily maintenance
Customer satisfaction. A better customer experience with greater billing accuracy. No supply interruptions. Decreased interruption of customer
water supply.

What is included in the smart water solutions portfolio? What are the essential components of the solutions?

The current portfolio consists of three core solutions, all of which include meters and sensors, connectivity, software and services.

Smart metering and billing: Accurate metering for water sources, district metering areas (DMA), I&C consumers and residential consumers and a robust platform for billing, customer portal & app.
Smart prepayment: RF card and STS prepaid water meters are integrated in the vending software and smart metering platform.
Active leakage detection: The expandable monitoring platform enables water leakage control and a reduction of NRW using the District Metered Areas (DMA) approach.

All the core solutions can be extended with add-on software modules for:
Analytics: focusing on performance based on data and statistical methods from billing and NRW management.
Mobile Workforce Management: back-office software and a mobile app for field staff to cover the entire process from work order creation to completion.
Asset Management: achieving the least cost and least risk of operational assets while meeting customers’ needs.

As water utilities increasingly evolve into subscription-based business models, the Smart Water Solution can be delivered as a managed service. Managed services can be Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), in more comprehensive service agreements also Smart Metering-as-aService (SMaaS) and Infrastructure-asa-Service (IaaS). The software is hosted in a private or public Cloud.

Who are Iskraemeco’s typical customers for Smart Water Solutions?

Iskraemeco has launched Smart Water Solutions to contribute to the sustainable financial and technical operation of water utilities. These solutions address the most important challenges of water utilities: revenue collection, efficient water metering and consumption billing, reduction of NRW, customer service and awareness, efficient utilization of assets and a mobile workforce. Today the solution portfolio is tailored to the needs of the European, Egyptian, African and Middle Eastern markets, whilst at the same time we are exploring market demands in India and Latin
America as our future markets.

What can we expect from smart energy and water solutions in the future?

We are a long-distance runner. With a solution selling approach and new managed services business models, we will acquire new customers with recurring revenues. We are now building a network of our partners, hiring new team members and making sales in Europe, Egypt and Africa. The main showcase of the solutions is aligned with European and African Utility Week in October and November 2020. In the future, we expect to contribute a significant share in Iskraemeco’s total revenues