DataCol purchased by Arthur D. Riley

In an agreement finalised on September 29, 2017, Arthur D. Riley (ADR) has purchased data collection, monitoring, and management business DataCol.

About DataCol

Established in 1999, DataCol has gained widespread recognition for its service commitment and levels of innovation.

DataCol’s heritage is as a successful provider of meter reading services across the electricity, gas and water sectors. Crucial to this success has been the development of the proprietary SevenX electronic meter reading software package.

SevenX is an intelligent metering solution in the form of automated meter reading (AMR), which is seamlessly upgradeable to advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) systems. Those that have adopted it have seen improved efficiency and quality outcomes of their meter data collection. Since implementing SevenX, Sydney Water improved and simplified its quarterly reading cycle, leading to a 20% reduction in meter reading costs, a decrease in billing enquires and improved customer service.

Recent developments have seen the introduction of the SevenX Android app, which is really standing out as an industry-specific solution that manages the collection, analysis, and reporting of the meter data, retaining a complete record of historical reading information. Pioneering the app is the recently formed partnership between Endeavour Energy and UGL Limited, aka The Alliance. Planning, scheduling, and functionality was a given with the app, but The Alliance recognised its potential to do more, and it was this flexibility and adaptability that made the SevenX app stand out from its competitors. Although they only went live with the app at the beginning of October, they’re already seeing benefits such as user engagement, improved data quality, gained efficiencies and real-time data.

Who are ADR?

Established in 1909, Arthur D. Riley & Co. Ltd (ADR) is a New Zealand-owned company. It supplies and services the utility industry, with special emphasis on electricity and water metering, and high voltage equipment for distribution networks.

ADR represents a select group of manufacturers from across the globe. The expertise and experience of their technical personnel are widely acknowledged via the solutions they supply to clients in New Zealand, Australia and throughout the Pacific Islands.

Since 1989 they have been involved with the supply of handheld technology used by their customers’ field staff, focusing primarily on utility meter reading and parking enforcement solutions. Initially using overseas technology, in the late 90s they committed to the development of their own solution for both meter reading and parking enforcement and management. ADR has continued to develop and offer innovative solutions to its client base.

In recent years, a change in the ownership structure meant ADR needed to consolidate their experience in the areas of remote acquisition, monitoring, management, and control. From the supply of Cybetec IP Gateways to Transpower, the acquisition of Control Systems (a SCADA integration company) and ADR’s recently announced acquisition of Abbey Systems – a successful SCADA hardware and design company who has exposure in local, USA, Australian and South Asia markets – the DataCol acquisition further increases the experience and offering they can bring to the market place.

ADR’s Managing Director Garth Mickell says the combined operation will strengthen ADR’s market position as a legacy meter reading provider, by offering synergies and efficiencies in operations. This allows ADR to actively pursue opportunities both nationally and internationally, particularly in the data collection, monitoring, and management sectors. “We are excited to be consolidating forces and to build on the excellent work that’s been achieved to date,” says Garth.

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DataCol Announces SevenX Cloud

SevenX

A new pricing plan for all ends of the market

The biggest utility enterprises in New Zealand and Australia have benefitted for years by using our meter reading management solutions. Our meter reading software, SevenX, includes intelligent metering solutions in the form of automated meter reading (AMR) which is seamlessly upgradeable to advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) systems. Those that have adopted it have seen improved efficiency and quality outcomes of their meter data collection.

A utility enterprise that has experienced the benefits of SevenX is Australia’s largest water and wastewater provider, Sydney Water.

The SevenX system has enabled Sydney Water to improve and simplify their quarterly reading cycle by providing server software that manages field force logistics and collects meter data from handheld units (HHU) in the field via manual or automated reads. Based on open technology, SevenX allows our customers to use commodity priced handheld computers rather than expensive and inflexible propriety hardware.

This had led to Sydney Water seeing a 20% reduction in meter reading costs, a decrease in billing enquires and improved customer service. If you’d like to find out more about how SevenX system has enabled Sydney Water to improve and simplify their quarterly reading cycle, you can read the full case study here.

Some of SevenX’s key features include:

  • Billing/CRM integration
  • Ability to link to AMR systems
  • Scheduling and route management: automated route creation and assignments to field force
  • Performance tracking monitor field staff performance and equipment in the field
  • Available as WEH, Android or iOS apps.

Although SevenX has been mostly used by larger enterprises, we’re announcing a new solution for smaller utility companies and councils. This new solution is called SevenX Cloud, which is a cloud-based version of SevenX with a new pricing plan to suit the smaller Councils. It’s an affordable solution that caters for all ends of the market. With this solution you can share the SevenX technology with other small companies. While this means there is less opportunity for customisation, the key advantage is that you share the cost of SevenX with these other small companies, meaning everyone can enjoy the benefits that SevenX offers.

If you are a utility company or council with around 50,000 connections, contact us today to talk about our SevenX Cloud solution.



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Mobile meter data collection takes another leap into the mainstream

With the upcoming release of an Android version of its SevenX meter data management solution, DataCol Group is helping the utilities sector push further into the mainstream of mobile technology.

In a sector which has traditionally had the majority of its workers in the field, mobile computing devices have always been a logical way to improve efficiency for energy and water utilities. Being able to collect metering data, engineering or customer service activities empowered with mobile devices has been critical.

The nature of those devices is changing as the technology evolves. Ruggedized ‘bricks’ like Itron’s FC300 have been reliable workhorses, but they also have a high cost to purchase and maintain, and are inflexible in adapting to rapidly changing technology.

One of these changes is the inexorable rise of the Android operating platform from Google, which has become the defacto standard for smartphone and tablet devices, with most sources putting it at 85% of the global smartphone market. According to ZDNet, there are over 1200 companies making around 24,000 different types of Android devices (smartphones and tablets).

The depth and breadth of this market offer makes it attractive for large field forces like those in the utility sector. It gives them choice and flexibility, from a simple commercial level phone through to highly ruggedized options, at a lower price and with far greater capability than a proprietary device like the FC300.

For DataCol, providing an Android version of our SevenX meter data management software is a logical pathway for our utility customers. Android devices are often ideal meter data collection tools, with good quality cameras, GPS, WiFi and 3G built-in. It gives utilities wider choice for device procurement, while providing all the features that make our product so useful to manual and AMR field forces.

For utilities in Australia, access to an Android SevenX platform provides an opportunity to deploy proven software which can enhance meter reading operations and enable them to be ‘Power of Choice’ ready. It can be an opportunity to change the ways ‘things have been done’ and implement new KPI focussed processes.

The SevenX meter data capture and management solution consists of an application running on commercially available, non-proprietary, ruggedised, IP67 compliant handheld computers communicating with SevenX, over cellular networks. It also integrates data from other transfer modes such as web, IVR and AMR. In addition, SevenX provides a single interface to the utility billing system (e.g. Gentrack, SAP, Agility) for timely, accurate and consistent billing.

If you are evaluating your mobile device strategy for your utility field force, then contact DataCol, who have over 15 years of experience in this field, to schedule a discussion about your meter data management strategy.

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