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Feeling the water: the new dimension of digitization

BALTORO infrastructure management platform by DATAKORUM.
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DATAKORUM offers a comprehensive IoT solution for the conscious and efficient management of water resources in the 21st century.

Undoubtedly, digitization has become an essential pillar in our contemporary society, particularly in the efficient and precise real-time management of resources. In this landscape of constant evolution, "feeling the water" becomes crucial. By digitizing water infrastructure, which is vital for our survival, we become more closely connected to this resource, perceiving its needs and responding to the challenges and demands of the 21st century.

To this end, we have created a universal and comprehensive IoT solution that allows for the digitization of the entire water infrastructure without the need to alter or replace existing devices. With this innovation, it is now possible to "feel" the water, understand its flow and needs, and manage it more consciously and efficiently.

Published in SWM Bimonthly 19 - September 2023
SWM Bimonthly 19

DATAKORUM has created a universal and comprehensive IoT solution that allows for the digitization of the entire water infrastructure

This end-to-end solution from DATAKORUM enables connectivity, data collection, analysis, and visualization of data from the entire water infrastructure, from the main network to household meters. Its modular architecture is composed of three fundamental pillars. First, our own IoT hardware, the robust and secure PIPE series gateways for data acquisition and transmission. Second, the TRANGO middleware, which serves as the device management interface, receiving, organizing, and standardizing data for proper interpretation. And the last pillar, BALTORO, our cloud platform for global infrastructure management, which processes and visualizes data intuitively and accessibly.

But what concrete benefits does our universal solution bring for the digitization of water infrastructure? Primarily, three fundamental advantages stand out:

Flexibility and universal compatibility

Our system allows for remote reading of meters from any brand and using any communication protocol.

Secure communications

The NB-IoT and LTE-M communication system benefits from high security, penetration capacity, and the speed of existing 5G cellular networks.

Rapid implementation speed

Since it doesn't require the replacement of existing meters, our system can be implemented quickly, without construction or interruptions in water supply.

End-to-end universal solution

Our solution is meticulously designed to address any need for data acquisition, transmission, and visualization in water infrastructure. The latest generation PIPE 5G gateways offer NB-IoT and LTE-M connectivity, making them perfect for IoT solutions due to their coverage, long range, high penetration capability, and very low energy consumption. They are compatible with any water meter regardless of the manufacturer and support a wide range of communication protocols. They take real-time readings every fifteen minutes and send data every hour for battery-powered models, and fifteen-minutes readings and transmissions for models connected to electrical power.

Flexibility and compatibility: our system allows for remote reading of meters from any brand and using any communication protocol

At the core of the excellence of PIPE 5G gateways is their multiprotocol design, which makes them truly universal by supporting the main water meter protocols in the industry, such as PULSES, MODBUS, M-BUS, WIRELESS M-BUS, and SEVERN TRENT. Additionally, they efficiently communicate with sensors and actuators using the 4-20 mA protocol, ensuring great compatibility and interactivity.

The NB-IoT and LTE-M communication system benefits from high security, penetration capacity, and the speed of existing 5G cellular networks

The range of PIPE 5G gateways offers a variety of models that meet different requirements, allowing managers to find the one that best suits their specific situations. There are models designed to obtain readings from a single meter, ideal for main networks, industries, or single-family homes. On the other hand, there are also models that allow simultaneous reading of multiple meters in buildings, whether connected in series via cable or in a wireless system. Furthermore, for more specific cases like villas, we've designed a model that can simultaneously read water and electricity meters.

During the deployment phase, efficiency is essential to save costs due to errors in the installation process. That's why we offer the BASE CAMP application, a valuable tool that, once the gateway is installed and connected, performs performance, security, and communication tests, ensuring that the installation has been successful and the data is correctly transmitted to TRANGO, our middleware.

The TRANGO middleware, based in the cloud or installed on the client's server (On-Premise), plays a crucial role in ensuring the proper commissioning, configuration, and monitoring of DATAKORUM gateways, as well as performing remote firmware updates (FOTA). It also enables quick integration with third-party AMI / HES platforms through standard protocols like REST-API or MQTT.

In response to the growing demand for digital solutions among small water management companies, we have developed the BALTORO platform. This platform offers a progressive and affordable path to digitization for those companies that do not yet have a remote management system for their infrastructure. BALTORO, due to its scalable and intuitive design, allows these companies to gain a clear understanding of patterns and trends in water consumption. This valuable information enables managers to proactively respond to incidents and facilitates making informed decisions based on real-time and updated data, such as detecting possible leaks, optimizing services, and ultimately improving overall efficiency.

Security and privacy

Security and proper data management are critical elements in today's digitalization landscape. In this regard, our solution for water infrastructure digitization goes beyond offering an efficient and cost-effective product; it also incorporates the highest levels of cybersecurity and end-to-end encrypted communications.

To start, data transmission security is reinforced through the use of existing and robust 5G communication networks (NB-IoT and LTE-M). These networks provide SIM-based authentication and high-level encryption, and they are widely recognized for their security and reliability, ensuring that data collection is protected against potential threats and cyber attacks.

Since it doesn't require replacing existing meters, our system can be implemented quickly, without construction or supply interruptions

Furthermore, our middleware plays an essential role in secure and intelligent data management. TRANGO is responsible for receiving data from all gateways through secure connections, with the same frequency and simultaneously, to structure them uniformly and coherently before sending them to the management platform, also through secure protocols.

Flexibility, speed, and cost-efficiency in implementation

In a rapidly changing digital world, the ability to adapt quickly to new needs becomes an indispensable attribute. Our solution is designed with this flexibility in mind, making it easy to implement quickly and ensuring that service is not disrupted.

Replacing existing meters with new ones equipped with embedded communications poses a series of logistical and technical challenges. On one hand, excavations or structural modifications might be necessary to accommodate the new meters, which could significantly disrupt the environment and incur substantial costs. Additionally, this could carry the risk of damaging other parts of the infrastructure during the process.

Abu Dhabi City.

In contrast, installing DATAKORUM's PIPE gateways on existing meters is a clean and quick "Plug & Play" process, regardless of the manufacturer and communication protocol they use, without altering the infrastructure. This approach avoids supply interruptions and the inconveniences that such disruptions would cause to users.

BALTORO platform offers a progressive and affordable path to digitization for companies that do not yet have a remote management system

Preserving the existing infrastructure also means maximizing the lifespan of the current meters. Despite lacking integrated remote communication capabilities, these meters remain accurate and fully functional. Connecting a communication gateway allows them to remain useful, extending their lifespan and avoiding the waste and additional costs associated with premature replacement.

Digital transformation is a continuous journey, and infrastructure requires strategies that allow the incorporation of new technologies without affecting essential services and deployed assets. Looking ahead, it will be much more cost-effective to replace a gateway when a new communication technology with greater capacity and features emerges, compared to replacing a meter with embedded communications.

A proven solution, 80,000 devices deployed in Abu Dhabi

In 2022, DATAKORUM was selected to lead one of the most prominent Internet of Things (IoT) projects in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) region. The goal was to provide connectivity to the Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) systems of water and energy supply companies, including TAQA, Abu Dhabi Distribution Company (ADDC), and Al Ain Distribution Company (AADC).

In 2022, DATAKORUM was selected to lead one of the most prominent Internet of Things (IoT) projects in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) region

The challenge we faced was significant; our gateways had to collect data from thousands of water and electricity meters situated in an infrastructure that housed 70 different meter models from 35 manufacturers, all utilizing diverse communication protocols.

This year will see the completion of the installation of 80,000 DATAKORUM 5G gateways, providing communication for over 120,000 meters. ADDC is already substantially reducing the amount of unbilled water and energy, resulting in increased efficiency in measuring and managing both resources, as well as maximizing asset lifespan. Furthermore, customer service quality has improved by providing detailed and up-to-date information about their water and electricity consumption.