CAPE TOWN – The humble household water meter will soon be replaced by a smart one, the first of which was launched jointly by MTN and Huawei on Wednesday.
Huawei said in a statement that the smart water metering solution, the first narrowband Internet of Things (NB-IoT) solution in Africa, will automatically keep households informed about usage and even let them know when there is a leak.
Smart water meters automatically report data on a regular basis, replacing manual meter reading, which can incur high labour costs and result in inaccurate data.
Also, sensors in the water meters alert customers to pipeline leakage.
The sensor array is designed to serve as a diagnostic spine that underpins network management. Data gathered can be used to control waste-water flows from each property, identify faults across the network and improve health and safety outcomes.
Babak Fouladi, MTN’s group chief technology and information officer, said: “In line with our strategy to explore new enterprise markets, MTN is glad to lead the application of this new technology in Africa.
- “Now we have succeeded in the commercial trial of smart water metering, the first NB-IoT service in Africa, and looking forward wildlife tracking, smart farm and smart parking etc, lots of services will be available to bring us a better- connected Africa.”
Jacky Chen,managing director of the Huawei MTN key account group, said:
- “The number of cellular IoT connections in Africa will grow seven-fold over the next three to four years, and NB-IoT will be a key driver for this trend.”
Huawei described NB-IoT as a new technology that would extend the utilisation of IoT by making it more efficient to connect objects requiring a long battery life and located in hard- to-reach areas to the internet by way of mobile connectivity.
This low-power wide-area technology would connect more objects to the Internet of Things.
Generally, the global IoT market is expected to be worth trillions of dollars by 2020, Huawei added.
The smart water metering service from MTN will be commercially deployed in 2017.
MTN and Huawei are due to demonstrate a live smart water metering solution and other IoT services at AfricaCom 2016 in Cape Town next week.